The Risen: A Novel

The Risen: A Novel

by Ron Rash


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The Risen is an important novel — and an intriguing one — from one of our master storytellers. In its pages, the past rises up, haunting and chiding, demanding answers of us all.” —The News & Observer

New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash demonstrates his superb narrative skills in this suspenseful and evocative tale of two brothers whose lives are altered irrevocably by the events of one long-ago summer, one bewitching young woman—and the secrets that could destroy their lives.

While swimming in a secluded creek on a hot Sunday in 1969, sixteen-year-old Eugene and his older brother, Bill, meet the entrancing Ligeia. A sexy, free-spirited redhead from Daytona Beach banished to their small North Carolina town, Ligeia entrances the brothers, especially Eugene, who is drawn to her raw sensuality and rebellious attitude. Eugene begins to move farther and farther away from his brother, the cautious and dutiful Bill, and when Ligeia vanishes as suddenly as she appeared, the growing rift between the two brothers becomes immutable.

Decades later, the once close brothers now lead completely different lives. Bill is a gifted and successful surgeon, and a paragon of the community, while Eugene, the town reprobate, is a failed writer and determined alcoholic. When a shocking reminder of the past unexpectedly surfaces, Eugene is plunged back into that fateful summer, and the girl he cannot forget.

The deeper Eugene delves into his memories, the closer he comes to finding the truth. But can Eugene’s recollections be trusted? And will the truth set him free and offer salvation . . . or destroy his damaged life and everyone he loves?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062436320
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/25/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 331,363
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels, including The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.

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The Risen 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For a semi-short story, this book really packs a punch. The writing is devine, the characters relatable, and the twists & turns are brilliant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A quick read that is well written. Found the character of Eugene somewhat insufferable and self pitying. His alcoholism seems too easily attributable to a summer romance as a 16 year old. Bigger question is: did Bill tell the truth about how our femme fatale died.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ron Rash’s new novel, THE RISEN (9/6/16 Ecco Press 272 pages), tells the story of two brothers whose lives are forever altered by their adolescent experiences with a mysterious young woman during one “Summer of Love” in the 1960s. While fishing in a North Carolina creek, Eugene and Bill spy naked, free-spirited Ligeia frolicking downstream and soon lose their virginity to her “free love.” In a small town where everyone knows everyone else, a stranger compels curiosity and, in the course of the novel, whose present-day chapters alternate with 1969, her background is gradually revealed. Driven from her Daytona Beach home for illegal drug activity, she ropes bewitched Eugene into paying for sex by supplying her with drugs stolen from his tyrannical doctor grandfather. When the supply slows because he fears getting caught, she extorts money from him by lying that she’s pregnant. When she vanishes after allegedly traveling to the nearest big town for an abortion, Eugene is bereft. Meanwhile, Bill, who initially was as entranced as Eugene, moves sharply in the opposite direction by becoming even more cautious and traditional, eventually following in his grandfather’s footsteps by becoming a surgeon. But he has kept a dark secret that reveals him to just as mercenary as the old man—and to his own brother, now a middle-aged failed writer and alcoholic. Then Eugene reads a newspaper article that re-opens the mystery of the woman he has never been able to forget. The novel poses such questions as: Will the truth finally set him free? Or will it destroy the lives and reputations of all three men in the family? But the more significant theme is not who-is-she or whodunit, but how their very different experiences of the same woman forever shape Eugene’s and Bill’s characters and futures. Bill thinks he escaped her influence, but we learn that she affected his life and character every bit as much as she did Eugene’s when Bill is revealed to be cruelly deceitful by withholding a secret from Eugene their whole lives—a secret that may have freed him from a misspent life. In this way, Bill is responsible for destroying Eugene’s life as much as Ligeia was. Rash skillfully constructs the alternating chapters to reveal the past-in-present as a way of showing that time stopped for Ligeia as well as for Eugene and Bill that fateful summer. FTC DISCLAIMER: In accordance with FTC Guidelines regarding endorsements, testimonials, and advertising, the reviewer received a free ARC from the publisher not conditional upon positive or negative review. The opinions expressed are her own. No-Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND All Right Granted. No rights reserved. You are free to copy and redistribute the material in any medium for format for commercial or non-commercial purposes with the license. You may condense the material as necessary; however, if you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must indicate if changes were made; the licensor does not endorse your changes.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
The Risen by Ron Rash is a highly recommended novel about a damaged man, his successful brother, and events that happened in 1969. Bill and Eugene are brothers. The young men and their mother live in a small North Carolina town with their tyrannical grandfather, the town doctor. Their grandfather rules all of them, and the town to some extent, with threats and an iron hand. Their grandfather has his eyes set on Bill becoming a doctor and Bill is pursuing that goal. Eugene, though, is viewed as more worthless due to his artistic sensibilities and writing, which are subversively encouraged by their mother. In the summer of 1969 Eugene, 16, and his older brother, Bill, 20, are fishing when Eugene sees Ligeia skinny dipping. Ligeia, 17, has been sent to her uncle's house by her parents in Daytona Beach in an effort to discourage her activities with the counterculture movement and drugs. Eugene falls for the free-spirited rebellious young woman and is also introduced to alcohol, drugs, and sex at this time, while distancing himself from his more dutiful brother. He also continues to steal sample packets of drugs from his grandfather's practice for Ligeia. Forty-six years later, Eugene is a washed-up alcoholic who has lost everything and is slowly drinking himself to death. He nearly killed his daughter while driving drunk. She is estranged from him and his wife is gone. He is shocked to see that a body discovered has been discovered to be Ligeia. Bill had told Eugene that he had put her on a bus in 1969. Obviously something else happened and Eugene is determined to discover exactly what happened to her and the part Bill played in it. Excellent prose highlights this novel along with exceptional character development. Rash sets the time and place with expertise and captures the age-old sibling rivalry between the brothers. It is also a poignant moment when 16 year-old Eugene is first introduced to alcohol by his brother at Ligeia's suggestion, and immediately enjoys it, portending his future alcoholism. For those who are familiar with the novel, there are recurring references to Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.