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The Truest Pleasure Paperback – January 9, 1998


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The Truest Pleasure + The Road from Gap Creek: A Novel (Shannon Ravenel) + This Rock: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (January 9, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565122224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565122222
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eloquent, wise and heartbreaking, Morgan's second novel (after The Hinterlands) offers insightful truths about family life and marital relationships through the twangy voice of narrator Ginny Peace, who lives in North Carolina mountain country during the first half of this century. Hill people like Ginny and her family endure dawn-to-dusk labor on the farm and offer thanks for simple pleasures. But Ginny needs another dimension: attending Pentecostal revival meetings where she is moved to speak in tongues is the only way she can satisfy her craving for transcendence. Marriage to hardworking but taciturn Tom Powell and the birth of several children fulfills Ginny for a time, but the intoxicating joy of being "cleansed by the Spirit" lures her again and brings an irrevocable rift with Tom, who despises such uncontrolled behavior. They continue to work side by side while their marriage dissolves in misunderstanding, resentment and spite, until a crisis finally helps Ginny understand the dimensions of their mutual love. Morgan's touch in this novel is deft and assured. Rarely has the experience of religious ecstasy been described with such poetic intensity and lack of condescension. In addition, he combines a keen observation of the natural world with a bone-deep knowledge of the traditions and cyclical rites of country life. Homely scenes of domesticity, with bickering born of family tensions and jealousies, are given depth by episodes distinctive of Appalachian culture. The reader is astonished when, after this somewhat desultory recital of the practical details of farm labor and household routine, the action suddenly accelerates into one dramatic, suspenseful scene after another. Ginny becomes a heroic figure: indefatigable, burning with duty born of desperate hope and, finally, struck by a tragic epiphany. This story of unassuming people striving for goodness but alienated from each other by differences in personality and perception of the world cannot fail to pierce the reader with the same poignant, ironic insight Ginny achieves.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This book by award-winning poet and novelist Morgan (The Hinterlands, LJ 4/1/94) focuses on the marriage of Ginny and Tom, a marriage rich in contrasts. The most significant difference is a source of constant irritation: Ginny is drawn to the ecstasies of Pentecostal worship, of which Tom, a workaholic, disapproves thoroughly. While this central difference precipitates many angry moments, the marriage endures such traumas as a child's death, backbreaking labors, and illnesses that have since been quelled. Narrated by Ginny and set among the Blue Ridge mountains in western North Carolina in the early 20th century, this novel is enhanced by Morgan's fine descriptions. Perhaps not surprisingly for a native of the area, he deftly represents mountain speech and Appalachian folkways. Recommended for public libraries, particularly in the Southeast.?Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I finished reading it last night.
Emmaline Aube "Cissie"
The ending was kind of awkward for me and I felt like I was left with a lot of questions but other then that I liked this book alot.
Keren Zayas Ruiz
Ginny and Tom were well written and very real characters.
Deborah Di Gioia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Believe it or not, Robert Morgan may be the first man to be in touch with his "feminine side". The Truest Pleasure illuminates life on the farm, motherhood and the complexity of marriage, all too well. This book is a rare gift, which gives the reader an excellent view of how a woman may feel in the everyday life of her marriage. If you are stumbling in your own marriage, bored with a relationship, or tired with the daily grind, give this book a chance to open your eyes.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read by everyone with a soul! Ginny and Tom become a part of your being as you read and live through their struggles of life in the early 1900's. I have reflected many hours about Ginny's revelation of 'The Truest Pleasure' at the end of the book. A wrenching tale about love, spirit, and inner reflection.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Truest Pleasure is quite simply a pleasure to read. Robert Morgan writes like a dream. I'm going to look for more of his work. It's evident he's a poet, too, but the writing never becomes precious as it may with poets who also write fiction. This is just beautiful writing, pure and simple, with a story that is touching. The ending took my breath away. A real delight.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Green on May 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mr. Morgan is a man in touch with his feminine side! Like in Gap Creek, his ability to relate what a woman feels in times of marriage, childbirth, ect., is amazing. This book centers around Ginny and her husband Tom and their relationship. Ginny's true to God. Tom's true to the land and sometimes, the two don't mesh. Morgan's talent of describing everything from the air his characters are breathing to the pain Ginny is experiencing during labor is unbelievable. Truly a gifted writer.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Neis on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is the late 1800's. Ginny is a young girl who loves to read, help out around her pa's farm and attend revival meetings at the arbor. She is tall and gangly and so does not expect to be courted or to marry like other girls. But when Tom comes to work on a neighbors farm, Ginny finds herself intrigued by him. He is broad and strong, a hard, passionate worker and a man of few words. Shortly thereafter, they marry and begin their life together. Morgan chronicles their sorrows and happiness's, their sorrows and joys. It is the simple life they live where a woman should be content to have healthy children and a home to care for and a man should be satisfied to work hard and see progress. But, of course, real life never pans out that easy and the story culminates with a spell-binding, shocking ending. Brilliantly written and passionately told, this is, without a doubt, the best book I've read since Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tim Peeler on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Morgan's female narrator is convincing and as consistent as is probably possible for a man. This novel reveals his gift as a story teller without sacrificing his obvious abilities as a poet.
Morgan knows the land, the work and the people that he deals with here. There are few places you will see a better depiction of turn of the century living in rural Western North Carolina. The fire and ice symbols that repeat in the novel give it a rich texture.
Maybe most outstanding here are the moments he creates when his narrator has a charismatic Christian experience. Morgan's approach to this "backwoods" religion is sympathetic and never heavy handed. Highly recommended.
Our students had a great time with this book in the fall, first in the class and then discussing it with Morgan when he came to our campus.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jeanne-scott on August 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Truest Pleasure is a wonderful story. Robert Morgan does not disappoint! The strength of the main character, her dedication to her husband, her family and her faith is wonderful. Her ability to try and make all of these commitments come together, and the inner struggle she goes through to attain this is both heartwrenching and inspiring. The common occurence in the lives of these people, particularly illness and death and the manner in which they handle these as a basic element of life are very poignant. It is a story that can make you stop and think about what the truest pleasures in your life are, the things that satisfy both your heart and soul.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ercie Berwick on December 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Robert Morgan is one of my favorite authors. Having been born and raised in the mountains, he knows the people there; their way of life, their dreams, their passions. Although I enjoyed this novel tremendously, it was just a wee bit of a let-down after having read Gap Creek. I hope Robert Morgan keeps cranking out more novels about mountain people.
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