My Father Like a River includes two short stories: the title story and the longer The Trusty. The Trusty was also published in Rash’s short story collection Nothing Gold Can Stay. It’s as good now as it was when I read Nothing Gold Can Stay, but I’m disappointed to see a story I already own and have read. As is usually the case with Rash, both stories take place in the mountains of NC.
The two make for good examples of the taxonomy of short stories I just invented. Short stories are driven and limited by their brevity in ways that novels are not. The most effective tend to fall into one of two camps: what I can Thinkers and what I call Twisters. My Father Like a River, written from the perspective of a boy reminiscing about his father fallen on hard times, is the former. Not much happens, but what does leaves the reader thinking long after putting the story down. On the other hand, The Trusty, about a chain gang “trusty” prisoner plotting his escape, is driven by a good solid, single plot twist at the end.
4 of 5 Stars.
2 thoughts on “Country Noir: My Father Like a River by Ron Rash”
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Ron Rash teaches at my alma mater, Western Carolina University.
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