Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Audio Book Review: Above the Waterfall, by Ron Rash

Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash book cover and review
I know Above the Waterfall is literary fiction, but maybe it's just a bit too literary for me. I've read Serena and The Cove also by Rash and liked them. But Above the Waterfall was all lyrical writing with a very simple, uneventful plot.

Les is about to retire from his position as sheriff of a small town in Appalachia. He's a wise man, who may not be entirely on the up-and-up, but his heart is in the right place. Becky is a park ranger, who is Les's friend.  She's suffered a traumatic event when she was a child that has stayed with her.

Les's part of the book is about dealing with meth dealers, preparing for retirement, and reflecting on past mistakes. Becky's part is about her writing poetry about the natural elements she so enjoys and looking back on her haunting past.

An elderly man who is a good friend of Becky's gets accused of poisoning the trout at a local resort.  He's on a security video that makes him look guilty.  But Becky is sure he didn't do it. So Les slowly and carefully figures out what happened.

The depiction of Appalachia is interesting, but coincidentally, I've recently read Natchez Burning and  Gray Mountain and both of those were much better stories along with the vivid southern setting.

I'm not sure what Becky's ramblings (poetic and beautiful, but still) have to do with anything.  Her backstory never comes full circle to relate to anything else in the book.

The narrators, Richard Ferrone and Tavia Gilbert, do a good job.  The male narrator was, actually, excellent.  Since the female part included so much poetry, I think I would have understood it better if I were reading the text.  But, I didn't enjoy that part anyway, so it didn't matter.  No fault of the narrator, though.

I feel like Rash just wrote this to show off his mastery of the English language.  At least it is short. These characters are nothing like Serena or Laurel from The Cove. Those books were also a bit meandering and slow moving, but the plot always kept my interest.  Above the Waterfall -- not so much. 

Published by Ecco, 2015,  HarperAudio
Audiobook obtained from the library
272 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. The more I read YA the more I've become impatient with adult fiction. I can admire beautiful writing but it only takes the book so far for me. I need something else to tide me over. This is why I'm extremely picky with the adult titles I pick up. I admire you for finishing it. I would've dnf it quite sooner.

    1. It was pretty short and I'm more patient with audiobooks. I'm also retiring at the end of this year, so I find myself craving more adult titles. I'll never stop reading YA, but looking forward to reading some of those adult authors that have been recommended. Are you coming to the ISLMA conference in a couple of weeks?

  2. I just don't do well with lyrical or super literary so this ones not for me


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