The title of this book is also the title of the novella contained within it along with nine short stories. The title novella, “In the Valley,” returns the reader to the story of Serena Pemberton, the protagonist of Rash’s novel that enjoyed the greatest commercial success, Serena. It made the New York Times best-seller lists and became a Hollywood movie. The nine stories are also an attraction of this book. After all, Rash won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for Nothing Gold Can Stay, as the best collection in the English language that year! His story collection, Chemistry and Other Stories, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. The stories here include one chosen for The Best American Short Stories of 2018 and another chosen for The Best American Mystery Stories, 2019. “Mesmerizing...In the Valley takes Serena to such a fever pitch of destruction that in a lesser writer's hands it might seem overheated. But Rash maintains the deep keel that has always distinguished him...He's one of the best living American writers, and his laconic understatement is much more powerful than excess…Haunting and darkly funny.”—Janet Maslin. “Rash’s best genre...Rash is expert at revealing the sword of vengeance’s double edge—how honed it is, how it cuts whomever wields it...A brace of strong stories, and the [title] novella’s a fine, suspenseful contribution to the thriving genre of Appalachian mayhem.”—Kirkus, starred review. “Revelatory...In simple but eloquent prose, Rash describes the vulnerabilities, fears, and desires of his characters and shows how often they unite persons from vastly different walks of life and social strata. The skillful craftsmanship of these tales and their subtle but powerful climaxes make for profoundly moving reading.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review. The author, Ron Rash, is the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University and lives in Clemson, South Carolina.
New York: Doubleday, 2020. 240 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.