One Foot in Eden, Ron Rash

This book was a pleasure to read. Set in 1951 in South Carolina, its backdrop is the dying rural areas of a farming community. The story is told five times, from five different perspectives: Holland Winchester is murdered and each telling fleshes  out the circumstances of his demise.

I loved the subtle nuances that distinguished the various tellings of this murder, the various tones that appeared so miraculously through the language that Rash has used so cleverly to construct this tale.

By the novel’s end I felt so moved by each of the characters that a part of me wanted to return to the beginning to revisit their individual tales. The Sheriff, who has tried so hard to distance himself from his roots; the Wife who is so torn by her desire to have children; the Husband, whose world is so black and white; the Son, who faces down the truth and the Deputy, whose words end this tale: “This was a place for the lost.”

What I enjoyed most about this story was that each character was so well defined. I haven’t seen this type of fullness of identity in characters in a long time and this was an excellent way to be reminded of the value of fully developed characters.

Rash’s book is a pleasure to read.

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2 responses to “One Foot in Eden, Ron Rash

  1. Hi there! Thanks for this review of “One Foot in Eden.” I was just thinking maybe you could give me a short summary of this novel, if you won’t mind. I was trying to look somewhere from the internet for a summary but cannot find one (only reviews, and they are insufficient). I need to make an analysis of this novel but the thing is that I did not know anything about this book and I don’t have it either. My task is to relate how this novel is the same as an Old testament story (considering the plot, the characters, setting, the language and the tone). I was also advised to allude a character or any aspect in the story to the Old Testament stories.

    Sorry for the trouble. I was just helpless already. I just thought perhaps you could help me. Thank you.

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