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The Cove [Hardcover]

Ron Rash
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012
In their little cabin set in the shadow of a deep cove, Laurel Shelton and her brother Hank have built a home. The locals whisper about the cove being cursed and perhaps it is: good fortune rarely seems to wind its way down the long overgrown trail that leads to their clearing in the woods. One day the course of both their lives seems altered when Laurel happens upon a stranger hiding among the trees. With only a simple haversack of worldly belongings, the alluring and mysterious Walter is soon drawn in to life in the cove, helping Hank on the farm and bringing Laurel the only real comfort she has ever known. But as soon as the dark cloud hanging over the cove finally begins to lift, a secret is uncovered that threatens to shatter their newly found happiness. As their neighbours begin to stoke a fire of rage against the cove and its inhabitants, Laurel, Hank and Walter come to understand the terrible danger they are in ...A breathtaking, lyrical novel with a profoundly moving love story at its heart, The Cove confirms Ron Rash as a masterful novelist at the height of his powers.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; Main edition (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857862618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857862617
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 438,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`Ron Rash is a writer of both the darkly beautiful and the sadly true; his new novel, The Cove, solidifies his reputation as one of our very finest novelists' --Richard Russo

'The Cove is a novel that speaks intimately to today's politics. Beautifully written, tough, raw, uncompromising, entirely new. Ron Rash is a writer's writer who writes for others' --Colum McCann

`When writers gather and tipple while discussing those not present at the table but admired, the name Ron Rash quickly comes up. He is a double-threat writer, great in both poetry and fiction. He uses language with such apparently effortless skill that it is as though he found words in his barn as a child and has been training them to fit his needs ever since. There's not much he doesn't know about humans in turmoil, or his region, a place where nothing ever changes until of all of a sudden it does and often too much. Rash throws a big shadow now and it's only going to get bigger and soon' --Daniel Woodrell

'The Cove is a marvelous novel, bristling with power, humanity and the exceptional quality of characterization and story-telling we have come to expect from Ron Rash'
--Irvine Welsh

Book Description

'A mesmerising novel of love and betrayal that stays singularly in the mind after it has finished' Observer --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where there's a Well there's a way.... 14 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The blurb on this book implied a James Herbert / Stephen King type horror story and in the the prologue a discovery of a human skull in an old well did little to dispel this. However, as the story progressed this was far from the case and The Cove is a classy, intriguing, tragic and fantastic book more reminiscent of Steinbeck then those authors.

The time and setting of the story was North Carolina during the Great War. Brother and sister Hank and Laurel Shelton were ekeing out a living on the family farm in the remote cove which had places that it was said the sun had never reached. Hank was one handed, a legacy of his service in Europe but Laurel had barely left the farm or the town of Mars Hill where her birthmark made her vilified her as a witch in the local community. Alone but for her brother and their friend the ever loyal old timer Slidell, her future looked a lonely one until she discovered the mute stranger playing his flute in the woods. The only clue they had to his identity was a note in his shirt pocket but his music made up for his lack of voice and a bond was formed between her and the itinerant musician who then came to live and work with them.

The author tells the story with great style. Dryer than a rattlesnake's belly, there are gems of wit and charm on most pages particularly in the dialogue. You can sense the paranoia and suspicion of the townspeople on the lookout for "Hun" who could be hiding in the hayloft, spying on them for no purpose whatsoever. The love story was always going to end in tears but the cloud does have its silver lining in this compelling and fantastic read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great story, beautifully written 8 Aug 2012
By Jan
At the beginning of this story a body is found in a well at an abandoned farm in Madison County, North Carolina. By the end of the book we know who died and how the body ended up in the well, but this book could never be labelled a "whodunit". In 1918 just before the end of World War One and some decades before the discovery of the body, Laurel Shelton and her brother Hank live and work on the farm which is near the cove. Many people in the nearby town think that Laurel is a witch as she has a birthmark, and it is also generally thought that the Shelton's land is cursed, so Hank and Laurel live a lonely life, rarely meeting anyone except their neighbour, Slidell. When Walter a mysterious, mute and illiterate stranger appears their lives are changed forever. The stranger works hard on the farm doing tasks that Hank, who lost a hand when fighting in Europe, finds difficult and thus he wins Hank's trust and Laurel's heart. Meanwhile in the town anti-German feeling runs so high, Chauncey Feith even accuses the college librarian of being a "Hun Lover" because she has books in German on the library shelves.

This story is simple and beautifully told. The harsh realities of the Shelton's daily life and gloom of the shadow cast over their land combine to create an atmosphere of hopelessness until Walter appears and things start to steadily improve. The characters are very real from page one and every reader will be desperate for Laurel to find happiness with the silent stranger as she has been treated so unkindly by the locals. I think I will remember her for a long time.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving and tragic love story 28 Feb 2012
By C. Colley TOP 500 REVIEWER
The Cove is set during the First World War in a remote American backwater.
The story revolves around brother and sister, Hank and Laurel, who live together on their family farm in 'The Cove'. The locals believe The Cove to be cursed and Laurel to be cursed because she has a birthmark on her neck and face. Her brother, Hank, is a disabled war hero who works hard to improve their farm and to prove his worth to his future father-in-law.
The unexpected arrival of a stranger brings a glimmer of hope into Laurel's lonely life, but ultimately changes the course of their lives.
This is a captivating novel and love story, while exposing the small minded prejudices of a superstitious community. The writing style is descriptive and more sedate than Ron Rash's previous novel, Serena. I enjoyed this book more than Serena, but the underlying sense of misery that Rash conveys leads to an ending that's not easy to predict, but the reader knows it's going to be tragic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Cove 9 Jun 2013
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Cove by Ron Rash. As a fan of Southern Gothic literature I had high hopes for this book, but I found this novel hard to get into & to read through. While the prose was of a good quality, the characters didn't really encourage the reader to be emotionally connected to the story. I had to stop & re-start a number of times as I found the plot was dragging, it didn't grab me. That said, it shouldn't detract from the fact this is a good book by a skilful writer, it just wasn't really for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Novel of Love, Beauty, and Loss. 2 Dec 2012
By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a book that I felt would not live up to the hype, but took a punt. The `New Yorker' has compared Ron Rash to both John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarty, so is the praise justified? Well this novel is set in a lonely and dark cove in America, where a brother and sister eek out a living on land that has seen better times. Laurel has a birthmark that has seen her singled out and even labelled as a witch. Hank has just returned from `The Great War' where he has lost a hand and has been partially accepted by the community for his sacrifice but no one will help him try to get the farm together except an ageing neighbour Sliddel.

The crushing loneliness that Laurel feels is enough to drive anyone insane, but she still soldiers on finding solace in the mundane fabric of life while she waits for something to happen. Then one day she hears a flute being played beautifully and goes to investigate. It turns out the player is a mute who wants to get back to New York, and Hank convinces him to help out until the train comes. We have a parallel story of a German sailor who has escaped internment and wants to get home but as the war rages and the body count increases the anti German sentiment amongst the local's hits fever pitch.

Ron Rash has the knack for painting pictures with words, he is also a poet and it shines through in the effortlessly beautiful prose, very similar indeed to McCarthy. The descriptions of the farm and the cove are such that you can see every part of the place and even where the sun is falling. The characters have that homespun quality that makes them rounded and seem totally uncontrived.

I have to say I was smitten with this almost from the third page it just got right under my skin in a very good way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - skip the reviews and read it
Out of all the books I've read in the last year or so, this is the one that really stuck with me. It's such an unusual book because I'm not sure you can summarise it, really. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Nao Cat
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful from start to finish
The book description sound really promising, but the book itself was pretty dire. The writing style was very dry and didn't have any real emotion. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ren
4.0 out of 5 stars Doomed, Doomed, Doomed
Doomed, doomed, doomed ... those are the words that kept going through my head as I read this book ... I felt very disheartened by the end ... hence 4 rather than 5 stars. Read more
Published 2 months ago by HJK
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Set in America in the middle of nowhere set against the backdrop of a cove, this is a story about Laurel Shelton and her brother Hank and the stranger Laurel come across across one... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nicholas
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
This is the first novel I have read by this author.

From the very first page you are able to feel the author drawing you into the unfolding of the story with the most... Read more
Published 2 months ago by B. Bello
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Steinbeck meets Daniel Woodrell. A simple story but beautifully told with emphasis on characters rather than complicated plot. Read more
Published 4 months ago by TJA
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly a bit dull
Hank and Laurel, brother and sister, have had a difficult existence, with the death of their parents, Hank's war wound and Laurel's birth mark. Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. Lawson
4.0 out of 5 stars A touching and atmospheric love-story set in North Carolina
The Cove is a touching and atmospheric love-story set against the backdrop of the first world war.

The story explores the isolation, loneliness and hardship of a brother... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Matt Aylott
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice discovery
This is a skilfully written story set in a time and place that I hadn't encountered before - namely rural America during the WWI. Read more
Published 5 months ago by bomble
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and meaningful.
The Cove is a richly atmospheric novel, set amongst the haunting Appalachian mountains of Carolina (an area steeped in folklore and history). Read more
Published 5 months ago by ric03
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