reads from his stunning new novel The Cove (Harper, $25.99).
Laurel Shelton lives a lonely life in the Appalachian Hills. Branded a witch by her neighbors because of a prominent birthmark, Laurel’s only companion is her brother, Hank, who has recently returned home, having lost an arm in the trench warfare of France. Laurel’s life changes forever when she saves a stranger from a near-fatal accident. Mute, and carrying all of his belongings on his back, the stranger owns little more than a silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter and he is bound for New York. Walter stays on, insinuating himself into life on the small farm and into Laurel’s heart. But when Laurel stumbles upon Walter’s true identity, she immediately realizes the danger they have placed themselves in. Amid empty patriotic fervor, stoked by an ambitious army recruiter named Chauncey Faith, Laurel and Walter must skirt far more than fear and ignorance to avert tragedy.
Ron Rash is the multiple prize-winning author of the novels Serena, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight, several collections of stories, and several collections of poetry. He teaches at Western Carolina University.