The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Tag Archives: young love

Dusty Love

I find it funny sometimes how I come to read certain books.  All the Living (B) by C. E. Morgan was a substitute selection sent to me by Picador due to a book shortage.

All the Living takes place on a dusty tobacco farm in Kentucky, set between mountains that yield little sun and on soil that is dry to the bone.   Orren suddenly becomes the sole survivor of his family and heir to this tobacco farm.  He has no money and little knowledge of farming; yet he is determined to continue.

Aloma is an orphan that was raised by her Aunt and Uncle and has been studying at a mission school in these very same mountains.  She accomplishes the piano while at the school and sees it as her vehicle out.  She dreams of one day leaving to pursue her career as a pianist.  Unfortunately, upon her graduation, she finds there is nowhere to go. So she stays and becomes the piano teacher.

Orren and Aloma meet at the school and begin a fiercely intense sexual relationship.  Orren’s family is killed in an auto accident; he finds himself alone.  Aloma agrees to go to live with Orren and help get the farm running well enough so that they can marry. Does either of them understand what it means to love and be loved? Why are they still alone even though they are living together?  Can either of them be happy in this situation and can their relationship survive the strife and turmoil?

Morgan’s characters are well written and authentic.  I found that at times I was championing Orren while at others Aloma drew me in.  In the end, I can’t decide if I agree with their decision or if I feel it was just convenient and easy.  It reminds me of the saying “be careful what you wish for” for in getting your wish are you locking yourself in and shutting yourself out.

All the Living would make an excellent book for discussion. While not the best book I have ever read it certainly is thought provoking and a bit controversial too. I am happy to have had the opportunity to read it.