Above the Waterfall: A Novel
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In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land.
Les, a long-time sheriff just three-weeks from retirement, contends with the ravages of crystal meth and his own duplicity in his small Appalachian town.
Becky, a park ranger with a harrowing past, finds solace amid the lyrical beauty of this patch of North Carolina.
Enduring the mistakes and tragedies that have indelibly marked them, they are drawn together by a reverence for the natural world. When an irascible elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream, Les and Becky are plunged into deep and dangerous waters, forced to navigate currents of disillusionment and betrayal that will force them to question themselves and test their tentative bond—and threaten to carry them over the edge.
Echoing the heartbreaking beauty of William Faulkner and the spiritual isolation of Carson McCullers, Above the Waterfall demonstrates once again the prodigious talent of “a gorgeous, brutal writer” (Richard Price) hailed as “one of the great American authors at work today” (Janet Maslin, New York Times).
people. No matter how good the bloodline, they can still turn out sorry.” We walked over to my car. “So this is the last time between me and you,” Jink said. “This is it.” “What about Jarvis Crowe? Do I have the same arrangement with him?” “I don’t know,” I said. “That’s between you and Jarvis.” “You ever talked to him about it?” “I haven’t, but you and I both know he’s wise to what’s going on. If he wants it to continue he’ll drop by.” “Hell, Les, what if he ‘drops by’ just to arrest my
slants down from the stair entrance. Ms. Abernathy ushers us toward the light leaking in from the basement door. Almost there when her shhhhh stills us. Footsteps come halfway down the stairs and pause. Both my hands clutch Ms. Abernathy’s. Another footstep and a shoe and pants cuff appear. The pipe drips loud and my first tears well. I try to squeeze the tears back inside me but the first one falls and I know he has heard it. . . . Ms. Abernathy stands in the basement door, blocking the exit as
bearing three children hadn’t changed that. Even two years ago, Martha had a face and figure most women in their thirties would envy. No longer. Now she seemed melted into a pale shapelessness, though a darker swelling lay under her eyes, as if the grief had pooled there. I sat down on the couch, though no one had invited me to. “I told him not to bail her out,” Martha said, then turned to Ben. “I told you and you done it anyway.” “What did she take?” I asked. “My wedding ring,” Martha
on.” He pocketed the phone. “I can’t lose my job over this, Les,” C.J. said. “My boys aren’t going to grow up like me.” I’d thought to go to Jink Hampton’s place first, but I raised my hands in surrender. “Okay. I’ll go on out there now and make it damn clear to Gerald that he will be arrested next time.” C.J. stood, but he didn’t leave. “You know this wouldn’t have happened if Gerald had sold that place two years ago. Even his nephew had the sense to know there’d never be a better offer.
as a teenager. The man believed in loyalty, and C.J. had been loyal to Tucker as well, which was why I figured he’d stick by C.J., even in a bad economy. Where Locust Creek ran closest to the resort, a fly-fishing instructor stood beside a client dressed as if posing for an Orvis catalog, wicker creel and all. Not that he’d need much instruction. Tucker had the stream so well-stocked that all the guy had to do was hit water. Along the road’s edge, spaced just yards apart, bright yellow signs: