An Hour or Two for Saints

It’s that time of year again.  I call it the November lag.  Students are tired, professors are worn out, and people are either looking forward to the holidays or dreading the craziness that comes with all of the festivities.  I’m surrounded by piles of papers to grade, and haven’t done a whole lot of writing.  I should know by now — this time of year is not designed to start any new projects.  It’s best to just try to keep one’s head above water.

Still, last night, I took a break from the real world and read a novel.  Yep.  A whole novel.  In one night.  I haven’t done that in years.  I hadn’t planned on devouring the book in one night, but once I started, I couldn’t stop. So what enticed me away from all the grading I need to do?  Saints at the River by Ron Rash.  I don’t have time for a proper review but the book does deserve a synopsis.

Rash’s book takes the reader to rural South Carolina, where a small town is torn apart by environmental issues. At the center of this battle is a father whose daughter has drowned in the Tamassee River.  He and his wife want to retrieve their daughter’s body but environmentalists are convinced that rescue attempts will cause damage to the river.  Rash articulates the gray areas between human rights and the environment.  Furthermore, he explores the intersections between environmental and rural/working class issues.

Rash’s work is new to me, so I was excited to find out that he has published many novels and even some poetry! But right now, I can’t go out and buy any more of his work.  I’m afraid I may get sucked in and fall further behind with my grading.

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