World Made Straight

World Made Straight 1

by Ron Rash

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 27/02/2017

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews Add your review
RRP  $22.99 $19.16

Summer in Madison County.

Seventeen-year-old Travis Shelton cannot see a way out of his small town - until he discovers a grove of marijuana in the woods that could make him some serious money.

But Travis has stumbled across more than drugs. His discovery is the first unwitting step in a journey back to the savage violence and betrayal festering in the community's past, and to the corruption in its present. Vivid and unsettling,

The World Made Straight is a powerful exploration of the secrets that bind us together and drive us apart.

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
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Text Publishing Co
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • an utter joy to read

    by on

    “… he sat on the steps as morning made its slow lean into the valley – sunlight grabbing hold of the treetops and sliding down the sycamore and birch trunks, which threw the light back, almost a reflection. Then the sun eased into the pasture, a slow unfurling that lit up dew beads on the grass and the spider webs. A pair of goldfinches flashed across the meadow like yellow sparks flung out from the morning’s bright becoming”

    The World Made Straight is the third novel by award-winning American author, Ron Rash. Having quit school due to boredom rather than stupidity, 17-year-old Travis Shelton helps his father in the tobacco fields. Looking for a better fishing spot during his free time, he stumbles across a field of marijuana plants. Taking what he can manage to carry, he confers with his buddy Shank, and ends up selling it to the local drug dealer, ex-high school teacher, Leonard Shuler.

    Some unwise decisions later, Travis is recovering in hospital when a candy striper, a girl from his homeroom class, walks in. Quietly determined, Lori Triplett intends to rise above her station and become a nursing assistant. She can see that Travis has the capacity to be more than a tobacco farmer and sets higher sights for them both.

    Despite his lifestyle and his source of income, Leonard Shuler finds himself giving shelter to two misfits: Dena is a 34-year-old drug addict; Travis has fallen out with his father and needs a place to stay. Leonard and Lori have a subtle but profound effect on the direction of his life, one for which Travis is sometimes grateful and at other times resentful. Travis abandons his drinking buddies in favour of studying for his GED. Will he be able to make something of his life?

    Rash constructs his story using Leonard and Travis as narrators, and adding a historical aspect with entries from the 19th century Ledger of Dr Joshua Candler. The field where the 1863 Shelton Laurel Massacre (an actual event) took place plays a significant role. Rash’s characters are well developed and he is easily able to make the reader care about their fate, hope for their future, be disappointed in their poor choices and applaud their courageous acts.

    As always, Rash’s descriptive prose is achingly beautiful, and his love for the Appalachia and her people is apparent in every paragraph. Ron Rash has yet to disappoint: his books are an utter joy to read.

    A few examples of Rash’s wonderful prose:

    “A woodshed concealed the marijuana from anyone at the farmhouse or the dirt drive that petered out at the porch steps. Animal hides stalled mid-climb on the shed’s graying boards. Coon and fox, in the centre a bear, their limbs spread as though even in death they were still trying to escape. Nailed up there like a warning, Travis thought”

    “It seemed as if the coal-dark core of the mountains flowed out on nights like this, rose all the way up to the floor of the sky”

    “The last rind of sun embered on Brushy Mountain. Cicadas had started their racket in the trees and lightning bugs rode an invisible current over the grass”

    “The boy’s face was all jut and angle, as though the features had been outlined but not yet filled in. a lanky build but strength in the shoulders and arms, the muscles wiry and tough like wisteria vines”

    “Even if he’d never heard the song before, Leonard would have known it was Cash. No one else had a voice like that, smooth and rough at the same time, like water flowing over gravel”

    “The sun fell full upon them, a soft warming that made the whole meadow drowsy, the jorees silent, a big yellow and black writing spider motionless in its web. No hint of a breeze, as if even the wind had lain down for a nap. The cloudless sky like a painting too, its color a light but also denser blue. Cerulean, he thought, remembering the word he’d read last week, one he’d asked Leonard to pronounce for him”