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thread, Eugene’s love of literature. Because Rash himself is an avid reader, his work is often rich with intertextuality. Readers can discover a striking resemblance to Lady Macbeth in the protagonist of Rash’s novel Serena (2008), allusions to the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins in Above the Waterfall (2015), and direct references to James Dickey’s Deliverance in Rash’s One Foot in Eden (2002). Additionally, readers of The Risen find a novel centered on the psychological toil of murder, much like Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. With additional nods to literary giants like Steinbeck, Hemingway, Poe, and London, Rash’s The Risen is ripe with literary connections. Eugene seems to have inherited his love of literature and letters from his mother as he tells us, “[T]he book she cherished most was Look Homeward Angel.” Eugene’s mother encouraged her sons to read because she wanted them to “see there could be more” within them than the career in medicine that

their over-bearing grandfather, who was also a physician, aggressively pushed them toward (30–31). Unlike his older brother, who did become a doctor, Eugene tells us that he went to university thinking “that, like Wolfe, I might write my own small-town novel” (90). As a young man, Eugene saw writing as his ticket out of his small hometown and out of the landscape that surrounded it. He hoped that much like Thomas Wolfe, he too “could escape the ‘imprisoning mountains’” (156). Eugene and Ligeia bonded over this shared desire to flee, and they began to daydream about abandoning the mountain environment for someplace with more sun and sand. The dramatic irony that neither Eugene nor Ligeia left western North Carolina is not lost on readers. Eugene never did follow in the footsteps of Thomas Wolfe, and the discovery of Ligeia’s body demonstrates that she never made it to Miami as she so desired. Instead, Ligeia’s last words to Eugene come to haunt

Congratulations to Terry Roberts for receiving the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South. The author’s ancestors have lived in Western North Carolina since the Revolutionary War; he grew up in Weaverville and now lives in Asheville. Both of his award-winning novels are set in Hot Springs in Madison County. His third novel is forthcoming in 2018. Read an interview with Roberts about his first novel, A Short Time to Stay Here (2012), in NCLR 2014,* and, in NCLR Online 2014, an excerpt cut out of an early draft of that novel, which he shared with our readers. Roberts has written about Elizabeth Spencer and John Ehle for NCLR, and we are so pleased to see his work regularly awarded since he turned to writing his own fiction. n

* Roberts and Ron Rash were interviewed by Zackary Vernon about their World War I novels, both set in the German internment camp in Boiling Springs, NC.

COURTESY OF TERRY ROBERTS

TERRY ROBERTS RECEIVES JAMES STILL AWARD

readers with their prescience: “If I don’t return to the ocean, I’ll just die” (159). When I first read The Risen, I found myself wondering what this book means for those of us who stay in Appalachia and other regions often considered “backward” or “isolated”? Does this mean that we too will end up dead like Ligeia, or perhaps wishing we were, like Eugene? In some ways, I found this novel surprising and out of step with Rash’s legacy as a writer who works to “commemorate Appalachian history and culture” (Lang 4). But The Risen is not so much about Appalachia as it is about the universal struggle over mistakes and their aftermath. Although Eugene never did make it to Paris to write like Thomas Wolfe once did, ultimately there is a tale of redemption in The Risen. Rash offers readers a story about loss, mortality, the problematic nature of family life, and a glimpse into a world where, even if it comes 46 years late, we do have the choice to redeem ourselves through kindness and decency. n

ABOVE Terry Roberts with former Still Award winner Ron Rash at the SouthWord Literary Feast, Chattanooga, TN, 3 Nov. 2017

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

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