Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Ron Rash

Ron Rash writes the way a fisherman filets. Nothing is spared getting to the meat. His sharpened knife sends the extras flying off the table. What’s left is naked narrative. Each of the 14 stories in this collection contains a defining moment loaded with unexpressed pathos or fear. The spare quality comes from his concise language. The quality of pathos or fear comes with how he corners his characters. What Rash says of Flannery O’Connor’s stories de­scribes his own: “It was putting her characters in a situation where their essence would be revealed, the mask of the everyday would be taken off of their everyday existence.”