Ron Rash is one of those local authors that you want to hear every time he is in town. I was surprised to find out that there were some people in the country that didn’t know Ron Rash, but then I realized that even though he was a New York Times Bestselling Author, it’s his local appearance and investments that have made him a must read author in the Carolinas.

His compilation of short stories Nothing Gold Can Stay is one I have had on my shelf for over a year. I bought it at his reading at Malaprops┬áin Asheville, NC. It was a ticketed event to celebrate his new book and part of the ticket was a copy of his new book (Great idea for an author reading!). When I picked the book back up, I remembered frantically looking for parking, watching the clock and hoping I wasn’t missing any of the event I was scrambling to try to get to.

I remember hurrying across the street to encounter the ticket salesperson glancing through the glass window and hoping they would let me in to what looked like a full house. I remember preparing my, “I’ll stand and won’t make a peep” plea just in case it came to that. And I remember the salesperson handing me a copy of Nothing Gold Can Stay and saying, “Enjoy.” with a smile.

As I opened the door and amazingly found a seat as Ron began to tell the story of how the book came to be, I breathed and relaxed.

And that’s what I did when I opened the book a year later. Because Ron Rash’s writing is so real. I know some call it depressing and there is a sense that I beg and plead with Rash every time I get to the end of the story, asking him to let hope save the day, but knowing that he is telling what is, not what might be or could be; knowing that the heart-breaking realness is what makes me keep reading his writing and looking for every chance to hear him speak and read his writing. It’s in the reality of these short stories, that I find my own story, at time heartbreaking and at times hopeful; it’s in the reality of these characters that I find myself staring back at me.

Read and savor this collection whether you are from Appalachia or not. I promise you will find yourself peeking behind the corner of the pages.