This Rock by Robert Morgan

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From the author of Gap Creek-an international best-seller and winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award-comes the gripping story of two brothers struggling against each other and the confines of their mountain world in 1920s Appalachia.

The Powell brothers-Muir and Moody-are as different as Cain and Abel. Muir is an innocent, a shy young man with big dreams. Moody, the older and wilder brother-embittered by the death of his father, by years of fighting his mother, and by his jealousy of Muir's place in the family-takes to moonshine and gambling and turns his anger on his brother. Muir escapes by wandering, making his way around the country in attempts to find something-an occupation, a calling-to match his ambition.

Through it all, their mother, Ginny, tries to steer her boys right, all the while remembering her own losses: her husband (whose touch still haunts her), her youth, and the fiery sense of God that once ordered her world.

When Muir, in a drunken vision, decides that his purpose in life is to clear a space on a hill and build a stone church with his own hands, the consequences of his plan are far-reaching and irrevocable: a community threatens to tear itself apart, men die, and his family is forever changed. All that's left in the aftermath are the ghosts and the memories of a new man.


About Robert Morgan

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ROBERT MORGAN is the author of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, most notably his novel "Gap Creek" and his biography of Daniel Boone, both of which were national bestsellers. A professor at Cornell University since 1971 and visiting writer-in-residence at half a dozen universities, his awards include Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. He was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2010. Find him online at
Published September 28, 2001 by Algonquin Books. 340 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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This is a world of conscience based on personal faith—Scripture is the characters’ language and their food—but that doesn’t prevent Muir from indulging in the most unlikely (though admittedly compelling) of first dates: the lynching of an elephant.

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Publishers Weekly

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This coming-of-age tale is rather like a Cain and Abel saga, set in the Carolinas in the early '20s.

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Book Reporter

Embittered by the death of their father and the preferential treatment Muir gets from their mother Ginny, he bootlegs and gambles, always ready with a smart remark for his young brother and always ready for a fight with anyone who disagrees with him.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of This Rock

Entertainment Weekly

Cain and Abel, meet Muir and Moody Powell, a pair of yin-and-yang brothers from the same patch of mountain folk who populated Morgan's last work, the Oprah-anointed best-seller Gap Creek.

Oct 19 2001 | Read Full Review of This Rock

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