Burning Bright by Ron Rash

Burning Bright

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Ron Rash is "a storyteller of the highest rank" (Jeffrey Lent) and has won comparisons to John Steinbeck, Cormac McCarthy, and Gabriel García Márquez. It is rare that an author can capture the complexities of a place as though it were a person, and rarer still that one can reveal a land as dichotomous and fractious as Appalachia—a muse; a siren; a rugged, brutal landscape of exceptional beau...

Details Burning Bright

TitleBurning Bright
Release DateMar 9th, 2010
GenreShort Stories, Fiction

Reviews Burning Bright

  • Will Byrnes
    Ron Rash - image from Mercer News Rash’s fourth book of short stories returns us to his Appalachia, covering a wide swath of time, from the Civil War to the present day. Rash has a gift for story-telling and the dozen tales here will do no harm to his sterling reputation. His characters tend to be at the lower end of the socio-economic ladder and their struggles tend toward the existential. A young Union soldier’s wife is threatened by a host...
  • Candi
    4.5 stars“There’s always a price to be paid for anything you get.”There may be twelve stories in this collection by Ron Rash, but the phrase ‘a dime a dozen’ does not apply here, folks. Each story is unique, skillfully written, and thorough. Rash does not cut short and leave you wanting and wondering. The lush, beautiful backdrop of Appalachia is paired with the sordid, the lawless, and the troubled. Some people are living hardscrabble ...
  • karen
    chris wilson owes me some child support.and it looked bigger on the internet; like an actual baby, i was surprised at just how tiny it was. it is wonderful wonderful, and i have no complaints about my book-son, but i just wish it had about a hundred more stories in it. i read it in a day, despite all efforts to "hold back" a little. but for a tiny book, it rocked my world in a huge way.my favorite story was "the woman who believed in jaguars", mo...
  • Libby
    4+ stars - This is a collection of short stories divided into two parts with six stories in each part. Even though author Ron Rash hails from the area in which I’ve spent my entire life (western North Carolina), this is my first time to dip into the voluminous stream of his work. It was refreshing, intriguing, and familiar in the best of ways. Familiar in the sense that I immediately knew the characters, some of them like Jesse in the story, ...
  • Brian
    Ron Rash takes poverty, holds it before the Reader in clarion brilliance, and states "Watch what I can do with this shit."Sure, Christ opines You'll always have the poor among you but what difference does it make unless we can be among them? Why meth? Why live in a trailer with windows painted black, scratching out a meaningless existence playing "Freebird" once an hour to equally poor and drunk rednecks? What does it mean to be middle-aged and ...
  • Sara
    This is the best collection of short stories I have ever read. Each one is a mini-novel, fully fleshed out, raw and bruising and intimate. Rash uses the first person in each of the stories, and that sense of listening to a person tell their own story is captivating. It is like sitting across the table from someone and having them say, “I will tell you something that happened to me, and you will wish you didn’t, but you will believe it.”I ha...
  • Chris
    I am thankful that this book has a gorgeous cover. If it didn't, I probably wouldn't have noticed it among the hundreds of other books available through Goodreads' First Reads Giveaways and I wouldn't be sitting here trying to tell you a little something about it. After I won Burning Bright and added it to my to-read list (I wasn't planning to read this book had I not won it), Karen Brissette (known to most of you as karen brissette) called me a ...
  • Teresa
    3.5Years ago I heard Rash read a passage from one of his works at a local literary fest. I remember it as such beautiful writing and have meant to read him since. I finally have.From the book's beginning, I could tell Rash is one of those rare writers that gets "out of the way" when he's telling his story, he "just" tells it, there's no (visible) man behind the curtain, no overt authorial intrusion. But a few times I was lost as to a character’...
  • Diane Barnes
    It's rare that all short stories in a collection are great, but that's the case here. Ron Rash knows the people he writes about, knows how they think and how they talk, and he knows and loves the landscape in his corner of Appalachia."Dead Confederates" is a contender for my favorite short story of all time, followed closely by "Waiting for the End of the World" and "Lincolnites".
  • Sue
    This is my first experience reading Rash’s short stories (I have read Above the Waterfall) and it was powerful. His skill in creating images and settings, characters with problems, weaknesses or flaws, and fitting both into the Appalachia of the Civil War years or today is amazing. There is such sadness hanging over most of these people. They are enveloped by loss: loss of innocence as parents use everything in the house to buy meth at Christma...
  • Paul Secor
    Some thoughts on Burning Bright:You can't judge an author by his books (or, in this case, book). The stories in this book are intense, harsh, stark (pick one or all). Yet, when I heard Ron Rash speak and read recently, he was a cordial. engaging, and funny man. Go figure.In one of the stories, "Waiting for the End of the World", the narrator remarks (of Ronnie Van Zandt), "he did the best he could with what he had." Mr. Rash said something simila...
  • Connie G
    Every one of the twelve short stories in "Burning Bright" is worth reading. Author Ron Rash takes us to the Appalachian mountains in the Carolinas. His stories are about people facing poverty, addiction, desperation, and loneliness. Superstitions and traditions are passed through the generations. There are several stories about meth-addicted characters that are heartbreaking for their families.Rash also interjects some humor into some of the stor...
  • Diane S ☔
    Spanning time from the Civil War through to the present, divided into two sections these short stories are gritty and real. All the people are going through some type of adversity, while through their own fault or just life's circumstances. Many are trying to recover something they have lost, trying to find a new path or have taken something that do not belong to them.Rash's rendering of time and place is nothing short of astonishing. The details...
  • Toby
    What I want to say about this collection is that I liked it. The first section more than the last. It seemed to have more atmosphere and emotion, to hold my interest with it's narrative and location. But that doesn't make for a good review.Rash is most certainly a literary craftsman, forming tiny slice of life stories set in what is repeatedly called Appalachia in the blurb. I've recently read Pollock and Franklin and McCarthy and Woodrell, I thi...
  • Larry Bassett
    I read the first story of Burning Bright and wondered, “Why would I want to read more stories like this?” It was about what abject poverty did to some hillbillies and their children. It was about meanness and pride. I was demoralized. Then I immediately picked up the book again and read the second story. The second story weren’t much better: a community in the mountains used up by meth. Recently I read a book The Life You Can Save that co...
  • Sheldon Compton
    Rash is a short story warrior. He will take the top of your head plumb off with some of these. And the others, they'll break your damn heart and quicken your blood. I'm telling you, Rash gets out the broad sword with this collection. My favorite book of his so far.
  • LeAnne: GeezerMom
    Ron Rash regularly uses lush, poetic descriptions of clear mountain streams where spotted trout sip mayflies off the surface. He also has a knack for introducing troubled souls who make questionable choices - truly, no character is painted in a single shade of good or bad. Although the writing here is a 4.5, I just cannot connect strongly enough to short-story characters quickly enough to love them. All his tales are set in the Carolinas, and I h...
  • Tara
    It was a pleasure to read Rash's work for the first time. Serena made a big splash, but I wasn't aware he wrote stories. Beautiful, understated writing. I found the stories that dealt with the ravaged lives of people dealing in rural areas with meth addiction to be the most powerful. Some of the other stories fell flat for me, felt underdeveloped or had endings that seemed to just die out, making them unmemorable. But I will for sure check out al...
  • Eh?Eh!
    Short story capsules of poverty, choices, epiphany.
  • Patty
    Quoting from a short story collection cannot give even a glimpse into all the tales, let alone the feel of the book. Rash’s collection has a definite feel, one that I am struggling to describe.The first story is set during the Depression, in Appalachia. The next is also in Appalachia, but contemporary times rather than historical. This pairing is not an accident. The two stories add so much to each other. I had to go back and reread parts of ...
  • Lou
    There was some good stories here. I have briefly gone over a few here in this review. The quality of storytelling was good, there was a few that lacked originality and hook. I give it 3.5 stars.Hard timesJacob and Edna are farmers they sell corn and cabbage due to the depression they'd re facing hard times they have a hen and a case of missing eggs. Jacob goes out and asked in the local area inquiring if possibly any stray dogs responsible. Money...
  • Laura
    These magnificent short stories center around tough choices in limited circumstances. Rash once again captures the voice of the Appalachians in stunning prose. The first two stories (Hard Times, The Back of Beyond)alone and in juxtapostion are worthy of discussion. Two men taking different approaches to "ridding the snake from the henhouse"; the first of which turns out to be a harmless young girl, the second a meth-addicted nephew who is selling...
  • Kevin
    A lot of the 2 & 3 star reviews here are mainly down to the dark subject matter, and generally depressing air that these stories carry. Neither of these things bothered me; if it's dark and depressing you want Daniel Woodrell can out-dark Rash with his eyes closed, and I four-starred his Outlaw Album stories just recently. No, the problem here is that these stories although well written and easily read, lacked a certain edginess, a quirkiness, a ...
  • Judi
    This book will be added to my list of all time favorites. Brilliant.
  • Rose
    When you finish reading a book & are loathe to put it away on one of your many bookshelves & instead opt to keep it by your bedside table so it can be close to you for just a little while longer... well then you know you've found a gem. This book is probably my favorite read this year. Ron Rash is a fantastic writer. I loved every single one of these stories. There was a sadness in every single one, a deep loneliness laced throughout all the diff...
  • Albert
    So I had just finished a read that was painful and went on forever. I needed something to get me back in balance. A book of short stories would be the thing. Something that I knew would be good. I grabbed Burning Bright by Ron Rash. I had never read anything by Ron Rash before but I had read enough about his ability to write a good short story that I was confident it would be the answer I needed. I read it in three days. Could have read it in one...
  • Lancelot du Lac
    It's true that a book is not to be judged by its cover, but when I saw that shoddy barn with a strap-chair outside and a rooster on its window, I somehow knew what it was all about. While this book turned out to be a real page-turner, it also helped me release the stress & strain accumulated over the hectic day. Appalachia is truly a land of great contrasts, harsh realities and eccentric people as has been portrayed in this book. Seemingly endles...
  • Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎
    Mix bag with some real gems.Hard times - 5 starsBack of beyond – 4 starsDead confederates – 4.5 starsThe ascent – 2 starsThe woman who believed in jaguars – 2 starsBurning bright – 5 starsReturn – 3 starsInto the gorge – 3 starsFalling star – 4.5 starsThe corpse bird – 2 starsWaiting for the end of the world – 1 starLincolnites – 3.5 stars
  • JoAnn/QuAppelle
    I think Ron Rash is such a fine writer, with an elegance that belies the grittiness of his stories. He obviously knows his subject matter well and is able to make us feel his characters' pain and the toughness of their lives. His stories all have a strong sense of place and show his years of Appalachian heritage. Imbued with a quiet beauty, each story paints a complete picture. His beautiful and lyrical language just grabs the reader and does not...