…I’m beginning to believe that even in a fallen world things can sometimes look up.
– from “The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth”
And now here are my thoughts on the final 11 stories from Ron Rash’s Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories:
A Servant of History – A darkly funny take on the feuds that have occurred over the centuries in Appalachia – and Scotland.
Twenty-Six Days – A touching story about parents looking forward to their daughter’s return from Afghanistan.
Last Rite – Don’t expect this one to be a happy story and that brings up the question about which of these stories would one consider happy. Not many of them. The ones that are funny come the closest so far. This one’s not.
Blackberries in June – In this story, Rash succeeds in making me loathe one character. I get angry just like Matt after every comment his sister-in-law makes.
Chemistry – What a great story! I gave it a post of its own right here. And I take back my previous comment – this one comes the closest to being a happy story (so far) but its difficult to say it has a happy ending.
The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth – OK, this is the happiest story so far and its the funniest! If I had read just a little faster, this might have been my Easter story. Unfortunately, this is not far off the mark based on my church experience. But it’s still hilarious!
The Harvest – Short, poignant, sad. That hardness shows up again even among helpful neighbors. The neighbors understand this, though.
Badeye – Snakes show up again in this one as a result of the curiosity of an eight-year-old boy instead of religious purposes. The child as the narrator gives this story a certain charm as he tells of his mother’s great lengths to get him to see the errors of his ways.
Love and Pain in the New South – Very short and wonderful humor and it involves a monkey:
She had loved the monkey, and at first even loved me again. It was the Indian Summer of our marriage.
Shiloh – Already posted about this one here.
Outlaws – An author tells the story he wrote and then tells the real story and then meets one of the characters involved 40 years later. Not really a happy story.
Favorites from this group? Chemistry and The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth. I can’t pick one over the other. It depends on my mood.
There are some excellent stories in this group and I have to say it’s been a while since I’ve read so many enjoyable stories in one collection. I am a little sad that I’m finished. I’m pretty sure this collection will rank up there as a favorite this year.
Here are the posts for the rest of the stories: