All the Living
One summer, a young woman travels with her lover to the isolated tobacco farm he has inherited after his family dies in a terrible accident. As Orren works to save his family farm from drought, Aloma struggles with the loneliness of farm life and must find her way in a combative, erotically-charged relationship with a grieving, taciturn man. A budding friendship with a han...more
This book exemplifies "quiet," that term all lit writers hate to hear when they submit to agents and editors, as it almost always comes with a rejection. I've never read a quieter novel than this one. Really only three characters. One setting. Nothing much happens. It's all the internal wres...more
But a conflagration is a conflagration, and Kentuckian C.E. Morgan's All the Living is a damn fine distraction.
This lean little novel, Morgan's first, tells the story of Aloma and Orren, a young couple who attempt to run the family farm after Orren's mother and brother die in a tragic accident. Two things get in their way: the drought that has settled over the region and the fact A...more
There's no need for me to give a synopsis of the book ; you can read that yourself . I can only tell you that I could see the drought on this tobacco farm probably somewhere in Kentucky. I could feel Aloma's emptiness , her desire for a happier life , her need to fill the void in...more
The story is a timeless one. To Stay or To Go. The setting is a small town at the base of the mountains in Kentucky. The descriptions of farm life, church, love, and internal conflict are flawless. (It is in these descriptions that it is evident C.E. Morgan went to Divinity School at Harvard).
The ending broke my heart. But I would read it again without a moment's hesitation.
Aloma has come to Oren's farm straight from her mission school. Brought there when she was three years old, this is the only home she has ever known. Her family...more
I think C.E. Morgan has great skill and I appreciate her talent with her turn of a phrase. Yet I do not feel this book came into completion; I anticipate her future books will be more solid as she hones...more
Aloma is a mission-school educated orphan teaching piano in west Texas when she meets Oren (forgive the spelling mistakes, I listened to the audio version), a young farmer's son who is studying at Texas A&M. Aloma dreams of being a concert pianist and Oren of a large and successful farm, but both of their dreams are shattered when Oren's mother and brother, the only family he has left, are killed in a car accident and the two young lovers move back to the family farm.
I confess my aversion to books who condescendingly offer ridiculous titles like this one...All the Living: A Novel
Do we really need these qualifiers? Henceforth:
Barack Obama: A President
Tuna-Noodle Casserole: A Food
So there. I do feel a bit better.
On to my review, which is leaner than my complaint.
All the Living (A Novel) is a well-written book that tells a simple story. It fits neatly into the Gap Creek/Plainsong genre which deals in the strife and sorrows of our country b...more
This was a well written book and I daresay it was "really good", I just didn't particularly like it. I found it to be incredibly depressing. And I have a bone to pick with the writer of the blurb because I disagree that this book is about choosing between freedom or giving in to love. I don't think there was ever an...more
Very sparse and bleak overall although a unique read. Had it not felt so bleak, sad, depressing, I might have had a better feel after just finishing it.
But also at times like this, a book lingers in my memory and sinks in with a more favorable feel. I think this book will be like that.
Both Aloma and Orren are so sad that it feels sad reading their story, a sna...more
She was given a task, not many could stomach, building a life she didn't really know how to anchor, and questions surrounded her at every turn. Would she and Orren, eventually, marry?
She had invested a great dea...more