From Publishers Weekly
Morgan's enchanting debut follows the travails of a young woman who moves to Kentucky with her bereaved lover in 1984. Aloma, herself an orphan from a young age, leaves her job at the mission school where she was raised to help her taciturn boyfriend, Orren, with his family farm after his family is killed in a car accident. Once at the farm, he retreats into himself and working the land, leaving Aloma to wrestle with her desire to pursue her dream of being a concert pianist. As her relationship with Orren becomes more collision than cohabitation, Aloma finds in a local preacher a deep friendship that complicates her feelings for Orren, who drags his feet on marrying her. Young Aloma's growing understanding of love and devotion in the midst of deep despair is delicately and persuasively rendered through the lens of belief—be it in religion, relationships or music. Morgan's prose holds the rhythm of the local dialect beautifully, evoking the land, the farming lifestyle and Aloma's awakening with stirring clarity. (Apr.)
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This lyrical tale of grief and gruelling love on a tobacco farm takes place in the mid-nineteen-eighties but, if not for glimpses of linoleum and double-wides, might recall an earlier time. Aloma is an orphan who teaches piano at a mountain mission school; Orren is a “college farm boy” who glances at her sideways and “she thought that was wicked and could not help but like it.” When his family is killed in a car crash, Orren inherits their remote farm, and Aloma comes to live there, despite her dream of being a musician in the “real world.” Morgan is an expansive stylist, fond of rare words (“letheless,” “mortise”) and of the circumlocutions that can pass for plain speaking, but her pacing is shrewd. By the time the harvest is done, two lonely people are fused, if not consoled.
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