Thursday, May 20, 2010

recently read

I've been on a local authors kick of late. The stack of books stuffed into this trip's suitcase includes poetry from Ruth Stone (National Book Award winner, born in Roanoke), new short stories from Ron Rash (Penn/Faulkner winner, bard of Appalachia, personal favorite), and The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (winner of the Man Booker prize and graduate of Hollins' MFA program). A particularly pleasing paragraph from the latter:

The fact was that one was left empty-handed. There was no system to soothe the unfairness of things; justice was without scope; it might snag the stealer of chickens, but great evasive crimes would have to be dismissed because, if identified and netted, they would bring down the entire structure of so-called civilization. For crimes that took place in the monstrous dealings between nations, for crimes that took place in those intimate spaces between two people without a witness, for these crimes the guilty would never pay. There was no religion and no government that would relieve the hell.

There are lots of places that breed artists, but these particular ones and their particular styles kick down doors deep inside my being. Stone has lived outside Virginia for the last 80 some years, and Desai is writing about her native India, but somehow I can still hear my mountains in their words. Is that even possible?

1 comment:

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