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4.0 out of 5 stars One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash, 14 Jun. 2011
V. L. Harding (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One Foot in Eden (Paperback)
Ron Rash sets his story among a small farming community in Appalachia South Carolina. The pace is slow but sure, like the seasons that govern their lives, his characters well defined, their way of life, hopes and fears expressed in their own words and thoughts as they tell each section of the story. Will Alexander, the Sheriff, whose father and brother still farm in the upper areas of the valley, is trying to locate a Korean war veteran, a troublemaker, recently returned and living with his widowed mother on a farm in the valley.
The mother says that he has been murdered and points the finger at a neighbouring farmer, Billy Holcombe,and the reason, he had been committing adultery with the wife.
The Sheriff's search for the body forms the first part of the book, then the wife tells her story followed by the husband's version. Finally their son's story, overshadowed by the proposed imminent flooding of the valley by Columbia Power which will bury the farms , small villages and their burial grounds.
The missing man's mother, who has formed a friendship with the son, refuses to leave her farm and this is the catharsis for the son, father and mother and an aged Sheriff to resolve the mystery before the waters cover the valley floor forever.
Wonderful writing with a sure touch in describing a way of life and the people who live it.
Another writer whose books will find a place on my bookshelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than a murder mystery, 1 Mar. 2011
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One Foot in Eden (Paperback)
One Foot in Eden is Ron Rash's first novel. The tale is told in five voices; the setting is the Jocassee Valley in the Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina in the 1950s. It starts out as a murder mystery, but soon becomes much more. Characters that start out as simple farmers and law enforcement officers develop an unexpected depth. Underneath the main story is the current of people's lives and the threat of the dam that will flood the valley.
Sherriff Will Alexander believes that local thug and war veteran Holland Winchester has been murdered, but he has no body. He suspects that Billy Holcombe has committed the crime but has no proof. The crime and its aftermath are described successively by Will Alexander, Billy Holcombe's wife Amy, Billy, his son Isaac and Deputy Bobby Murphree. The plot twists in unpredictable ways: more than once, the outcome is quite different from what the reader might expect.
It is obvious from the rich descriptions and authentic dialogue that Rash is a native Appalachian: his love of the place and the people stands out.
This is a tale of murder; of suspicion and superstition; of guilt and of love; of infidelity and jealousy; of choosing a path in life; of fatherhood; of attachment to place and community displacement. Beautifully written, it is a pleasure to read and hard to put down.
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One Foot in Eden
One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash (Paperback - Jan. 2004)
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