Set in a small Appalachian town, The Caretaker by award-winning author Ron Rash is a breathtaking love story and a searing examination of the acts we seek to justify in the name of duty, family, honour and love
‘One of the great American authors at work today’ New York Times
It is 1951. The close-knit community of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, does not welcome those who are different.
Jacob Hampton’s wealthy parents disinherited him when he married Naomi, an uneducated hotel maid from out of town. They had bigger plans for him.
Now Jacob has been called up to fight in Korea, leaving a pregnant Naomi behind. The only person he can entrust to take care of her is his lifelong friend, Blackburn Gant. Blackburn, who tends the local cemetery alone, is an outsider too, his appearance irrevocably altered by childhood disease.
Slowly the two outcasts grow closer, their friendship blooming under small acts of kindness. Then, as they await news of Jacob’s return, a terrible, shattering act of deception derails all their lives. But no secret can stay hidden for ever.
Tender and luminous with truth, The Caretaker is a riveting story about the bonds of friendship, the contradictions of family and what it really means to love.
“With each Ron Rash story, you expect flawed people trying desperately to survive against the odds and a rich sense of place, and images that linger, and beautiful language that you catch yourself reading over and over. What you don’t always expect is a wicked plot. The Caretaker delivers all of the above in a story that becomes a race to the finish”
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“Splendid in its evocation of time and place. [Rash] is a writer who never sets out to impress but is always impressive. There are novels you enjoy and forget. Ron Rash is one whose books always invite a second reading; they are true to life, to experience and imagination – rich treasure. The Caretaker is one of his best”
“Thrilling … In [The Caretaker] the outcast has a heart of gold, teenage love is true love and, like the goods on display at Weaver’s Hardware, everything finds its right place”
times Literary Supplement
“Hard to put down … [Ron Rash] may be regionally focused in his fiction, but his works tap deep veins of human nature and national strife”
“If it’s a gripping yarn you’re after, look no further than this stirring tale of intergenerational deceit set in small-town America during the Korean war”
Ron Rash is the author of the PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times-bestselling novel Serena, in addition to the critically acclaimed novels The Risen, Above the Waterfall, The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River and The World Made Straight; five collections of poems; and seven collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, Nothing Gold Can Stay, a New York Times bestseller, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Three times the recipient of the O. Henry Prize and winner of the 2014 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, he teaches at Western Carolina University.