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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 the most mature and distinctive voices in southern literature.
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.
"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
"Ruggedly beautiful...Reading Rash's tale is like listening to a plaintive mountain ballad about a time and place long vanished: the lyrics are sweet and mournful, wistful and dark. And, oh, does One Foot in Eden linger!" --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
"One Foot In Eden is 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, Poet Laureate of North Carolina
"Ron Rash writes like a prince!"
"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
"If you are a fan of writers such as Robert Morgan, Lee Smith and Fred Chappell, you'll be pleased to know they liked this novel and wrote glowing jacket notes. And no wonder: One Foot In Eden could have been written by any of these authors....Save yourself a nice stretch of time for this book. Once you start it, you will find it extremely hard to put down."
-The Anderson Independent
"In this fine, passionate work, Rash combines a murder mystery with the occasion of the flooding of a South Carolina Appalachian valley by Carolina power. The story of One Foot In Eden is simple, elemental. The conclusion has the force and inevitability of real tragedy...a tragedy that occurs in the ancient, brooding mountains of the Southern Appalachians."
-Don Noble, Alabama Public Radio