A small Appalachian village and the Americans as we think we know them through film or series are the centre of Above the Waterfall. The sheriff who allows certain small crimes (accepting a small fee that is to be used as his pension), who being born and raised in the village knows everyone and everything. The entrepreneur who started a resort using the unique selling point of nature and fishing water, the misfit who had to accept a job in the resort, the park ranger who is trying to come to terms with her past through nature and poetry and finally, the old lonely widower who is accused of having poisoned the fishing water. But also the drugs-addicted nephew of the old widower having his eye on his inheritance, his crack-addicted girlfriend and the coke-laboratories sheriff Les and his men find and close on a regular basis. Life in North-Caroline is no longer just about nature and agriculture. Rash switches between the harshness of modern life and the beauty of nature by changing the topic every other chapter. Les describes everyday life, Becky takes us along in the way she experiences nature. Whereas the chapters focussing on Les are written in an almost neutral stark style, those on nature are poetic, lyrical. Who has poisoned the water is not the real issue, Rash shows us how people deal with modern life, their past, their future and the path they chose. Sometimes it means taking the side of your neighbours, sometimes it means being strict and stern. I was pleasantly surprised by Ron Rash who was an unknown to me. The lyrical chapters aren’t always easy to grasp, they do convince through the beauty of their language. The contrast with the stark language in the other chapters makes Above the Waterfall special.