Sunday, June 9, 2013
Serena, by Ron Rash
This book takes place near our cabin, just over the NC state line, which is one of the reasons I like to read Ron Rash -- he sets many of his works in my stomping grounds. I've hiked and camped in these hills, and treasure the beauty of the land. It amazes me whenever I realize how much of this breathtaking landscape was brutalized by the forces of man. In Serena the reader is given a back seat into the logging industry, circa 1929, and a glimpse into the lives of the George and Serena Pemberton, and their partners in a large logging company. George Pemberton had the misfortune to not follow the advice my mother-in-law gave her teenage sons (the bit about having a good time, but "keep your pecker in your pants") and before his marriage to Serena impregnated a local girl. As the Pembertons narrow their focus on their plans for the company ("narrow their focus" being a euphemism for killing off their partners and competition), the Missus shifts her focus to the problem of to her husband's bastard, and the plot thickens.
Beautiful, clever, passionate, ruthless -- that's Serena. And this book plays out the suspense of the rape of the land, and the single-minded quest for power of one intense, memorable woman.
*unless you want to be the next Lucrezia Borgia or
Cruella de Vil.