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The Truest Pleasure

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Ginny, who marries Tom at the turn of the century after her family has given up on her ever marrying, narrates THE TRUEST PLEASURE--the story of their life together on her father's farm in the western North Carolina mountains. They have a lot in common--love of the land and fathers who fought in the Civil War. Tom's father died in the war, but Ginny's father came back to western North Carolina to hold on to the farm and turn a profit. Ginny's was a childhood of relative security, Tom's one of landlessness. Truth be known--and they both know it--their marriage is mutually beneficial in purely practical terms. Tom wants land to call his own. Ginny knows she can't manage her aging father's farm by herself. But there is also mutual attraction, and indeed their "loving" is deeply gratifying. What keeps getting in the way of it, though, are their obsessions. Tom Powell's obsession is easy to understand. He's a workaholic who hoards time and money. Ginny is obsessed by Pentecostal preaching. That she loses control of her dignity, that she speaks "in tongues," that she is "saved," seem to her a blessing and to Tom a disgrace. It's not until Tom lies unconscious and at the mercy of a disease for which the mountain doctor has no cure that Ginny realizes her truest pleasure is her love for her husband. Like COLD MOUNTAIN, the time and place of THE TRUEST PLEASURE are remote from contemporary American life, but its rendering of the nature of marriage is timeless and universal. Praise for THE TRUEST PLEASURE: "Marvelously vivid imagery. . . . a quietly audacious book."--The New York Times Book Review; "Morgan deeply understands these people and their world, and he writes about them with an authority usually associated with the great novelists of the last century. . . . the book is astonishing."--The Boston Book Review;

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 02, 1995 – 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.
The Truest Pleasure
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Jan 09, 1998
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Seller: Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Print Length: 380 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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