Author(s): Ron Rash
Travis Shelton is seventeen the summer he wanders into the woods onto private property outside his North Carolina hometown, discovers a grove of marijuana large enough to make him some serious money, and steps into the jaws of a bear trap. After hours of passing in and out of consciousness, Travis is discovered by Carlton Toomey, the wise and vicious farmer who set the trap to protect his plants, and Travis's confrontation with the subtle evils within his rural world has begun. Before long, Travis has moved out of his parents' home to live with Leonard Shuler, a one-time schoolteacher who lost his job and custody of his daughter years ago, when he was framed by a vindictive student. Now Leonard lives with his dogs and his sometime girlfriend in a run-down trailer outside town, deals a few drugs, and studies journals from the Civil War. Travis becomes his student, of sorts, and the fate of these two outsiders becomes increasingly entwined as the community's terrible past and corrupt present bear down on each of them from every direction, leading to a violent reckoning-not only with Toomey, but with the legacy of the Civil War massacre that, even after a century, continues to divide an Appalachian community. Vivid, harrowing yet ultimately hopeful, The World Made Straight is Ron Rash's subtlest exploration yet of the painful conflict between the bonds of home and the desire for independence.
'An intellectually satisfying work of suspense ... [The World Made Straight] reminds us of the sort of compelling literature a brave artist can fashion from the shards of such experience.' Los Angeles Times Book Review [Ron Rash's] novels are complex and compelling, told in graceful, conscientious prose, and The World Made Straight is his finest yet.' Charlotte Observer 'Ron Rash writes some of the most memorable novels of this young century ... No writer since the late Larry Brown has handled the raw grit of country people as truthfully as Rash... At once uplifting, harrowing, and unforgettable.' News & Observer on The World Made Straight '[The World Made Straight] is the third novel by Ron Rash that has brought my life to a grinding halt-but to praise Rash simply as a powerful storyteller would be to overlook his gifts as a profoundly ethical writer and, at the same time, a poet with a fine and tender eye for the beauty of nature. What I love and admire most of all about this book, however, is its fierce confrontation of a human dilemma that has sparked too many of the world's most violent tragedies: the burning question of just how much allegiance we owe family and community, including the ghosts from our past.' Julia Glass, author of Three Junes 'The World Made Straight is a wonderful, heartbreaking, heart-healing kind of work, a work of genius-genius and insight and poetry and the kind of language that whispers to me like music coming back off dense wet hills and upturned faces.' Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina 'Rash writes in the tradition of William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor and more contemporary writers such as Charles Frazier and Cormac McCarthy. His fiction occupies that strange, language-driven netherland between myth and realism. It's a dark, poetic, blood-soaked world.' Australian
Ron Rash has long been a critically acclaimed writer, but his novel, Serena, catapulted him to new heights garnering rave reviews across Australia and becoming a New York Times bestseller. A PEN/Faulkner finalist for Serena, he is also a recipient of the O Henry Prize and winner of the 2011 Frank O'Connor Award for Burning Bright, a collection of short stories. His other work includes the novels, One Foot in Eden and The Cove and another short story collection Nothing Gold Can Stay. Ron teaches at Western Carolina University and lives in the Appalachian Mountains, South Carolina. His most recent novel is The World Made Straight, which is to be released as a feature film in 2015.