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All the Living: A Novel (edició 2010)
de C. E. Morgan
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All the Living de C. E. Morgan
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This is a very impressive debut novel, poignant and full of wonderfully atmospheric and poetic descriptions that really bring its remote Kentucky tobacco farm setting to life. To a British eye/ear, much of the language feels quite alien - there is plenty of local slang and Morgan does seem to like creative usages of nouns and adjectives as verbs.
Last year I had the great pleasure of reading C.E. Morgan's The Sport of Kings, an epic family saga that centers on horse racing. The Sport of Kings was my favorite read in 2016. It was so rich in language, character, and story. Once I finished it, I was eager to read Morgan's debut novel, a book that had been sitting on my bookshelf, largely unnoticed, for years.
At first appearance, All the Living is definitely a different sort of novel than The Sport of Kings. While The Sport... was a mammoth volume in weight and appearance, All the Living is a tiny thing, easily read in under six hours. The scope is much smaller, as well. While Morgan's second novel fills in backstory and spends considerable time with entire generations, All the Living jumps right in and most of the novel focuses on the couple, Aloma and Orren. Keeping that in mind, All the Living didn't have the punch that its successor had, but it had no problems standing on its own.
In such a small space, Morgan succeeds in forming a story that is full and enclosed in rich language. Despite the constraints, the story never feels rushed, neither does it feel incomplete or plain. I was surprised by how easily I was swept up into this tale with so little movement. Where the novel lacks, however, is in characters. These are great characters, but they're not as developed as I'd have liked them to have been. I don't really feel like I particularly understand either Orren or Aloma. When they make drastic choices, I'm not convinced that there actions are believable because I really do not understand the character. This is especially true with Aloma, a character that is extremely interesting, but not fully rounded. I'd have liked more time to get to know her and understand what she'd been through before page 1.
All the Living captures a distinct rhythm that was also present in Morgan's second novel. She builds worlds that you can see and feel, but also hear. Any well written book can transport the reader to another place, but with C.E. Morgan, it feels a little more vivid, as though maybe you'd actually been there. I look forward to visiting the next place she takes me.
It's hard to give an accurate rating to this book because I read it over such a spread out amount of time. I really liked the descriptions of the setting of rural Kentucky and the writing was good. I just wasn't that drawn in to the characters or the story line.
I think many people will find fault in what seems to be a simple “backwoods” book that takes a look at a young couple from Appalachia who find themselves in a more mature situation than they were expecting. Life moves forward much to fast because of the death of Orren’s family. He finds himself alone to run the family farm and Aloma, with not much of a future as far as she can see, goes with him to live on the farm. There are much deeper ideas underlying what is actually written in this book and Miss Morgan allows you the space to delve deeper into what you think you would do in each situation. Should Aloma stay? Should she have even gone in the first place? Why did she go? Before judging this relationship and deeming this book “bad” I began to think, how many actual marriages have begun just like Orren and Aloma’s relationship? I think a lot have and the struggles they have in the growth of their relationship are true and deep. Will they make it? Do they have what it takes to last for 30 years? Who knows but I think Miss Morgan did a wonderful job portraying the give and take and the major differences between women and men on a basic level and showed us how we can love when then ones we love are not perfect. How life is not perfect but we make choices that work for us.
Miss Morgan uses a very descriptive way in which she writes. I realize some people do not enjoy this type of literature but I felt I was in the hills of KY or Virginia. I could feel and see the landscapes as she described them. It moves like a movie in my mind.
This book is worth the time to read if you like reading about relationships, struggles, life lessons and the Appalachian areas. Lot’s to discuss for a book club.
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)
Aloma is a young woman who has put her life aside - and her dreams of becoming a pianist - to move in with her lover, Orren. His family has recently been killed in an accident. Stricken with grief and overwhelmingly burdened by the shape his life has taken, Orren is desperate to keep the tobacco farm running. There is a drought, and he needs it to rain. As he toils with the land, Aloma finds that Orren has become more remote than she could ever have imagined, and that silence has taken hold of their relationship. When she begins to play the piano for the local church, she meets the local preacher, and feels a dangerous attraction for him. As events unfold over this single summer, C.E. Morgan takes us on a journey which describes the journey of our own lives. This novel is about every single relationship between a man and a woman - past, present and future - and about the distance between the lives we lead and the lives we imagine for ourselves.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.6Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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I would say I'm a big, big fan of CEM's writing now. ( )