Saints at the River: A Novel

Saints at the River: A Novel

Ron Rash

Language: English

Pages: 239

ISBN: 0312424914

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A major new Southern voice emerges in this novel about a town divided by the aftermath of a tragic accident--and the woman caught in the middle

When a twelve-year-old girl drowns in the Tamassee River and her body is trapped in a deep eddy, the people of the small South Carolina town that bears the river's name are thrown into the national spotlight. The girl's parents want to attempt a rescue of the body; environmentalists are convinced the rescue operation will cause permanent damage to the river and set a dangerous precedent. Torn between the two sides is Maggie Glenn, a twenty-eight-year-old newspaper photographer who grew up in the town and has been sent to document the incident. Since leaving home almost ten years ago, Maggie has done her best to avoid her father, but now, as the town's conflict opens old wounds, she finds herself revisiting the past she's fought so hard to leave behind. Meanwhile, the reporter who's accompanied her to cover the story turns out to have a painful past of his own, and one that might stand in the way of their romance.
Drawing on the same lyrical prose and strong sense of place that distinguished his award-winning first novel, One Foot in Eden, Ron Rash has written a book about the deepest human themes: the love of the land, the hold of the dead on the living, and the need to dive beneath the surface to arrive at a deeper truth. Saints at the River confirms the arrival of one of today's most gifted storytellers.

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he looked one-hundred-percent Glenn. He was like my father in other ways as well. “You say you’re from Illinois, right, Mr. Brennon?” “That’s right,” Brennon said. “Carbondale.” “These portable dams of yours,” Joel said, every syllable drawn out like taffy being stretched, “you’ve used them on rivers in Illinois?” I didn’t know where Joel was going with his questions, but he was doing it in classic southern good-old-boy fashion—as if he were dumb as a fence post. But he wasn’t dumb, and

water depth and searched for bedrock to anchor Brennon’s polyurethane dam. They worked alone except for the people onshore, who held the ropes knotted around the brothers’ waists. Joel and the other members of Tamassee Search and Rescue had refused to help. Some local people sat on rocks below the falls, but they soon got bored and left. Brennon, Kowalsky, and Phillips stood together on the shore, Brennon and Kowalsky holding the ropes out in front of them as if fishing. A woman from the Oconee

her hand around mine. “Come here.” We stepped farther away from the stage where she could speak more softly. “I don’t know what your daddy’s telling you, but he’s in a bad way now. That cancer’s eating away at him.” Aunt Margaret gave my hand a final squeeze. I felt the strength in that hand. “The time’s come to let bygones be bygones, Maggie,” she said. “You wait too long, and you’ll not have a chance to set things right.” “Yes ma’am,” I said, because it was the easy response. But I also knew

“Faithful to her, or maybe just faithful to the writing.” Lucinda Williams’s voice filled our silence for a few moments. She sang of car wheels on a gravel road, of things left behind but not forgotten. “That evening after I came back from the hospital, I gathered all my notes for the Kosovo book and threw them in the fireplace. I struck a match and watched them burn. I don’t know why I thought that would make any difference.” Allen paused. “But this situation with Ruth Kowalsky, it’s like

where Kowalsky sat. Brennon sat on one side of Kowalsky, talking to a man wearing the only suit and tie in the building. On the other side of Kowalsky was a woman I’d never seen before. “They think it’s a done deal. Brennon has already flown the dam down here, as well as the men and materials to put it up. All that does is put more pressure on Luckadoo.” “True,” I said, looking over to the corner where Sheriff Cantrell and Hubert McClure stood. “But somebody must have thought this wasn’t going

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