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Serena (P.S.)
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This is a violent story about ambition, privilege, and ruthlessness played out in an Appalachian timber camp in North Carolina during the Depression. The novel opens with the camp's wealthy owner, George Pemberton, returning from Boston with his new bride, Serena. He is met on a train platform by his business partners--and by camp kitchen worker Rachel, who is carrying his child (and meeting the train with her angry father). When George leaves the platform, Rachel's father is dead, and Rachel herself has been spurned and humiliated. The novel is richly detailed, and many of the characters are skillfully drawn by Rash (The World Made Straight). Unfortunately, though, the Pembertons--who are rapacious and monstrously self-absorbed--often seem one-dimensional and implausible. Serena is particularly hard to believe at times. Still, parts of the novel are superb, particularly the final section when Serena turns violently against Rachel and her son. The Pembertons create a wasteland in these beautiful mountains, and Rash also renders that loss powerfully. Though flawed, this manages to be an engaging read. Recommended for libraries with large fiction collections.--Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Depression-era lumber baron George Pemberton and his callous new wife, Serena, are venality incarnate in Rash's gothic fourth novel (after The World Made Straight), set, like the other three, in Appalachia. George--who coolly kills the furious father of Rachel Harmon, the teenage girl pregnant with George's bastard son--is an imperious entrepreneur laying waste to North Carolina timberland without regard for the well-being of his workers. His evil pales beside that of Serena, however. Rash's depictions of lumber camp camaraderie (despite deadly working conditions) are a welcome respite from Serena's unrelenting thirst for blood and wealth; a subplot about government efforts to buy back swaths of privately owned land to establish national parks injects real history into this implacably grim tale of greed and corruption gone wild--and of eventual, well-deserved revenge. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"From that arresting opening.the violence escalates along with the tension in this absorbing story about rapacious greed in Depression-era Appalachia.Thrilling stuff." -- People
"Beautifully written." -- Seattle Times
"A gorgeous, brutal writer." -- Richard Price, bestselling author of LUSH LIFE
"The opening is unforgettable.the last hundred pages are thrilling.should be a breakthrough for this masterful storyteller." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This is a must-read novel." -- About.com (Contemporary Literature)
Beautifully written --Seattle Times
"From that arresting opening...the violence escalates along with the tension in this absorbing story about rapacious greed in Depression-era Appalachia...Thrilling stuff."--People
"Ron Rash's SERENA will stand as one of the major American novels of this century. It is a flat-out masterpiece-mythic, terrifying, and beautiful."--Lee Smith
"Beautifully written..."--Seattle Times
"Too hypnotic to break away from...And the final chapter is as flawless and captivating as anything I've read this year, a perfectly creepy shock that will leave you hearing nothing but the wind between the stumps."--Washington Post Book World
"A gorgeous, brutal writer."--Richard Price, bestselling author of LUSH LIFE
"A harrowing tour de force that might be the most timely and dangerous novel released this fall... Rash has gone beyond any Southern gothic tale to weave a complex and riveting portrait in the tradition of Gabriel Garcia Marquez...brilliantly conceived."--Huffington Post
"Rash is a storyteller of the highest rank and SERENA confirms this from the opening sentence to the final page. An epic achievement."--Jeffrey Lent, bestselling author of IN THE FALL
"From the moment she steps off the train, Serena Pemberton commands center stage in Ron Rash's rough-hewn tale of unchecked ambition. Universal in scope, frightening in its brutality, Serena is an unflinching vision of blighted souls played out against the backdrop of a nearly-lost Appalachia."--David Wroblewski, New York Times bestselling author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
"[Rash] has outdone himself. The story of this brilliant, ambitious, seductive woman is a searing tragedy of Shakespearean proportions--or, in simpler terms, a damn good book that will keep you awake far too late and, well after you've finished it, haunt your dreams."--Julia Glass, National Book Award winning author of THREE JUNES
"A powerful tale, well told, SERENA is enriched by Rash's artful use of language. With just the right turn of phrase, dead-on details and subtle use of symbol, he delivers a story that will remain with readers long after the final page."--Charlotte Observer
"This is a must-read novel."--About.com (Contemporary Literature)
"An Appalachian retelling of Macbeth, a thriller, a word-perfect evocation of an era and a people, a grim chapter in the history of conservation: if Serena doesn't finally win Ron Rash the overdue attention of the national literary (and cinematic) establishments, I can't imagine what they're holding out for."--Arthur Phillips, author of Prague
"Ron Rash's new novel Serena catapults him to the front ranks of the best American novelists. This novel will make a wonderful movie, and the brave actress who plays Serena is a shoe-in for an Academy Award nomination."--Pat Conroy
"Masterfully written...The book is consistently heartbreaking in its portrayal of what humans are capable of...sprawling [and] engrossing."--San Francisco Chronicle
"The opening is unforgettable...the last hundred pages are thrilling...should be a breakthrough for this masterful storyteller."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"With bone-chilling aplomb, linguistic grace and the piercing fatalism of an Appalachian ballad, Mr. Rash lets the Pembertons' new union generate ripple after ripple of astonishment."--Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Beautifully written, utterly unforgettable. To my mind, this novel, as powerful and inexorable as a thunderstorm, is as good a piece of fiction as was published last year and a new classic in the category of love gone terribly wrong."--Anna Quindlen
Beautifully written, utterly unforgettable. To my mind, this novel, as powerful and inexorable as a thunderstorm, is as good a piece of fiction as was published last year and a new classic in the category of love gone terribly wrong. --Anna Quindlen"
A gorgeous, brutal writer. --Richard Price, bestselling author of LUSH LIFE"
Ron Rash s SERENA will stand as one of the major American novels of this century. It is a flat-out masterpiece-mythic, terrifying, and beautiful. --Lee Smith"
From the moment she steps off the train, Serena Pemberton commands center stage in Ron Rash s rough-hewn tale of unchecked ambition. Universal in scope, frightening in its brutality, Serena is an unflinching vision of blighted souls played out against the backdrop of a nearly-lost Appalachia. --David Wroblewski, New York Times bestselling author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle"
A powerful tale, well told, SERENA is enriched by Rash s artful use of language. With just the right turn of phrase, dead-on details and subtle use of symbol, he delivers a story that will remain with readers long after the final page. --Charlotte Observer"
Beautifully written --Seattle Times"
The opening is unforgettable the last hundred pages are thrilling should be a breakthrough for this masterful storyteller. --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
An Appalachian retelling of Macbeth, a thriller, a word-perfect evocation of an era and a people, a grim chapter in the history of conservation: if Serena doesn t finally win Ron Rash the overdue attention of the national literary (and cinematic) establishments, I can t imagine what they re holding out for. --Arthur Phillips, author of Prague"
This is a must-read novel. --About.com (Contemporary Literature)"
Rash is a storyteller of the highest rank and SERENA confirms this from the opening sentence to the final page. An epic achievement. --Jeffrey Lent, bestselling author of IN THE FALL"
Ron Rash s new novel Serena catapults him to the front ranks of the best American novelists. This novel will make a wonderful movie, and the brave actress who plays Serena is a shoe-in for an Academy Award nomination. --Pat Conroy"
With bone-chilling aplomb, linguistic grace and the piercing fatalism of an Appalachian ballad, Mr. Rash lets the Pembertons new union generate ripple after ripple of astonishment. --Janet Maslin, The New York Times"
A harrowing tour de force that might be the most timely and dangerous novel released this fall... Rash has gone beyond any Southern gothic tale to weave a complex and riveting portrait in the tradition of Gabriel Garcia Marquez...brilliantly conceived. --Huffington Post"
Too hypnotic to break away from...And the final chapter is as flawless and captivating as anything I ve read this year, a perfectly creepy shock that will leave you hearing nothing but the wind between the stumps. --Washington Post Book World"
From that arresting opening the violence escalates along with the tension in this absorbing story about rapacious greed in Depression-era Appalachia Thrilling stuff. --People"
Masterfully written...The book is consistently heartbreaking in its portrayal of what humans are capable of sprawling [and] engrossing. --San Francisco Chronicle"
[Rash] has outdone himself. The story of this brilliant, ambitious, seductive woman is a searing tragedy of Shakespearean proportions or, in simpler terms, a damn good book that will keep you awake far too late and, well after you ve finished it, haunt your dreams. --Julia Glass, National Book Award winning author of THREE JUNES"

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