I am coming to be disappointed with Ron Rash. I first read his novel Serena and found it to be outstanding--dramatic, powerful, and poetically written. I next read The Cove, which was also very good, though not on par with Serena. Since then, the others I have read have become more and more disappointing. He is a very good writer, but I don't believe he is trying as hard any more.
This is a story of family estrangement. The middle-aged narrator, a failed writer and alcoholic, tells of his alienation from his successful surgeon brother, flashing back to their teenage years in the 1960s when a mysterious girl, wise in the ways of the emerging counter-culture, comes between them. During a summer of alcohol, drugs, and free love festering resentments emerge. Back in the present, the narrator learns that the girl's bones have been discovered on the banks of the stream where they had once met, although his brother had told him that she left town on a bus.
The remainder of the book is the narrator's quest to find out what really happened.
Family resentments have come to be somewhat overdone as a concept for a novel, and this book adds nothing new. The mystery of what happened to the girl adds a new element, except that I figured it out about half way through.
This is not bad light reading, but I expected much more. It is very short (153 pages), and actually reads more like a short story. It would make a good beach book.