One Foot in Eden A Novel

Ron Rash




Trade Paperback

224 Pages



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Winner of the Appalachian Book of the Year 2002

Will Alexander is the sheriff in a small town in southern Appalachia, and he knows that the local thug Holland Winchester has been murdered. The only thing is the sheriff can find neither the body nor someone to attest to the killing. Simply, almost elementally told through the voices of the sheriff, a local farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff's deputy, One Foot in Eden signals the bellwether arrival of one of the most mature and distinctive voices in southern literature.


Praise for One Foot in Eden

"A classic tale of passion and tragedy. Each voice rings as true as the sound of an ax in the cold early morning air."—Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls

"Equal parts vintage crime novel and Southern Gothic, full of aching ambivalence and hard compromises, and rounded off by bad faith and bad choices, One Foot in Eden is a veritable garden of earthly disquiet."—Los Angeles Times

"A story of family secrets and family bonds, of legacies and intense loyalties . . . in prose that thrills like [Rash's] poetry. I couldn't put it down. He is one of our finest writers."—Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek

"Rash's story is written with the crisp precision and evocative images you'd expect from a talented poet, especially one with deep roots in the region. His characters are vivid, thoroughly human. And his narrative unfolds in mesmerizing fashion . . . A page-turner with a palpable, moving sense of time and place, and an abiding compassion for the troubled humans who move through its pages."—The Charlotte Observer

"Rash's characters have a heroic quality as they struggle to fill the empty spaces in their hearts. They also have a poetic intensity."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A story of wild, almost primitive force and yet it is neatly and ingeniously put together. Ron Rash knows to the core the ways of those who yearn for what is just beyond their grasp. Here is a lasting experience."—Fred Chappell, author of Brighten the Corner Where You Are

"Ron Rash writes like a landscape painter . . . Atmosphere and place are real—we are pulled right into that county and into the characters' minds . . . Finally, it's a rich and lyrical language that is Ron Rash's gift to us, from the wise and moving words of the people in his novel to the whispers and secrets given up by the land he knows so well."—Creative Loafing

"Ron Rash has written a hauntingly beautiful novel of a lost place and time, full of characters who have faced the truth themselves."—Ashley Warlick, author of The Distance of the Heart of Things

"One Foot in Eden is a forceful but never forced narrative. Rash moves his tragedy along with great authority, revealing motives that build to the complexity of each character as well as our fascination with them and the outcome of their lives. It is a finely polished novel."—The Columbia State

Reviews from Goodreads



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Ron Rash currently lives in Clemson, South Carolina. He is the author of several collections of short fiction and poetry, and has had his work featured in The Yale Review, The Oxford American, and elsewhere. This is his first novel. Henry Holt will publish his second in summer 2004.
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  • Ron Rash

  • Ron Rash is the author of several novels, including the prizewinning Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight, both published by Picador.  In addition, he is the author of two collections of short stories, including Chemistry and Other Stories, also available from Picador, and three collections of poetry. He is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize and the James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. For Saints at the River he received the 2004 Weatherford Award for Best Novel and the 2005 SEBA Best Book Award for Fiction. His work has been featured in The Yale ReviewSewanee Review, Southern Review, and elsewhere. Rash holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University and lives in Clemson, South Carolina.
  • Ron Rash




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