…and What That Means
Home is or can be so many different things. It can be a place, a memory, or an idea. Going home is a recurring trope in literature (sometimes done well and sometimes done poorly). Ron Rash’s Saints at the River does a fine job of exploring this trope on a few levels.
Maggie Glenn, the protagonist of the novel, returns to her home town to cover a story for the newspaper she works for. Rash uses Maggie’s return to a home she left ten years ago as a means to explore the idea of home and what it means to go home again. For Maggie going home means coming to terms with family and an ex-boyfriend. It also means trying to understand where she stands with the townspeople she grew up with and the town itself. One could also argue that the river at the center of the novel is a symbol for Eden (I’d like to hear what people who read the book think of this) and whether or not a person can ever return to such a paradise once he/she leaves.
Home is so many different things to so many people. Ron Rash’s Saints at the River is a well crafted character study that explores going home and how the place, the memories, and the ideas of home have a lasting impact.
Saints at the River (2004) by Ron Rash