All the Living

C. E. Morgan

Aloma is a young woman who has put her life aside – and her dreams of becoming a pianist – to move in with her lover, Orren. His family has recently been killed in an accident. Stricken with grief and overwhelmingly burdened by the shape his life has taken, Orren is desperate to keep the tobacco farm running. There is a drought, and he needs it to rain.

As he toils with the land, Aloma finds that Orren has become more remote than she could ever have imagined, and that silence has taken hold of their relationship. When she begins to play the piano for the local church, she meets the local preacher, and feels a dangerous attraction for him.

As events unfold over this single summer, C.E. Morgan takes us on a journey which describes the journey of our own lives. This novel is about every single relationship between a man and a woman – past, present and future – and about the distance between the lives we lead and the lives we imagine for ourselves.

Reviews of All the Living

    • Praise for ‘All The Living’:
    • ‘A distinctive and wonderful book, which lingers and deepens in your mind’ Hilary Mantel
    • ‘Steeped in dust, sweat, tension and desire, “All the Living” feels like a classic – the finest first novel I’ve read in years’ Tash Aw
    • ‘This striking novel is rich in future promise.’ Sunday Times
    • ‘[A] lyrical tale of grief and gruelling love on a tobacco farm … [Morgan’s] pacing is shrewd. By the time the harvest is done, two lonely people are fused, if not consoled.’ New Yorker
    • ‘As I read the opening pages of “All the Living” I was suddenly no longer in my study but gazing out at the leafy tobacco plants of a small Kentucky farm where a young couple are struggling to make their living, and their lives. In seemingly effortless prose, C.E. Morgan captures both the complexity and the simplicity of Orren’s relentlessly hard work and Aloma’s dangerous drift towards another man. A wonderful debut.’ Margot Livesey
    • ‘[An] elegant debut novel…reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor and Carson McCullers. Morgan dutifully shows how ambivalence, duty and deceit might play out in a claustrophobic agrarian world.’ TLS
    • ‘A perceptive portrayal of love and the burden of loss in the American South.’ Waterstone’s Books Quarterly
    • ‘Sweetly haunting.’ The List