... mesmerizing ... takes Serena to such a fever pitch of destruction that in a lesser writer’s hands it might seem overheated. But Rash maintains the deep keel that has always distinguished him and has perhaps led to him being characterized as 'Southern,' a designation he apparently finds dismissive. He shouldn’t; he’s one of the best living American writers, and his laconic understatement is much more powerful than excess. There’s nothing rash about Rash. The way that influenza deaths figure in In the Valley is as terrifying as anything you may find on the subject, even if its crescendo is ... The novella’s minor characters, human and otherwise, are all drawn with exceptional care. That’s also true in the nine other stories in this slim volume, though some are very short.
... a catalog of broken people trying to survive ... The power of Rash’s stories lies in...small moments of connection amid all the noise of rupture and heartbreak. Rash writes with a direct precision that puts the reader at ease. Here is a storyteller who not only knows his characters, but knows all the details around them as well. Rash ends the book with the titular novella ... Rash maintains the novel’s linguistic precision, but the contrast to the even sparer prose of the stories that precede it makes the novella’s increased space and cast of characters feel somewhat unfocused.