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 Returning to the familiar territory of his previous fiction, Morgan (the story collection The Mountains Won't Remember Us, 1992, etc.) offers a slice of turn-of-the-century southern farm life complete with all its joys and considerable monotonies. Ginny begins the narration of her life at its most pivotal momentwhen her widower father takes her to a revival meeting. To her own great surprise, she becomes possessed by the Spirit and finds herself speaking in tongues and thrashing about on the sawdust floor. From then on, Ginny's spirituality becomes the primary force in her life, bringing with it a sense of higher purpose. This confirmed holy roller, though, escapes a seemingly inevitable spinsterhood when she meets and marries Tom. But while there's an undeniable attraction, neither partner is deluded into thinking that the marriage is anything more than a great convenience. Tom, his family destitute since his father's death in the Civil War, falls in love with Ginny's vast acreage and sees in the land his opportunity to build something great and good. Ginny, in her practicality, sees in Tom a reliable helpmate for the hard rural life. They're compatible enough, then, and certainly so in the bedroom, but Ginny's religion is a point of contention that threatens the bond at every turn. Tom is violently repelled by his wife's participation in seasonal revival meetings, considers it the practice of heathens, and abandons the bedroom for months at a time when she refuses to curb her ways. Meanwhile, years pass amid the simple pleasures of trout fishing, making preserves, and boiling molassesall despite the setbacks of land disputes, fires, and a baby that dies during birth. Life simply goes on, however, until tragedy strikes and Ginny must decide what her ``truest pleasure'' is. An admirable account of country living, accentuated by colloquial prose, but best suited to those already enthralled by rural life.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-56512-105-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1995


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