Set in the last years of the nineteenth century. Julie and Hank's new life in the valley of Gap Creek, in the Appalachian high country, is more complicated than the couple ever imagined.
There is a most unusual woman living in Gap Creek. Julie Harmon works hard, "hard as a man," they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop. People depend on her to slaughter the hogs and nurse the dying. People are weak, and there is so much to do. She is just a teenager when her little brother dies in her arms. That same year she marries and moves down into the valley where floods and fire and visions visit themselves on her, and con men and drunks and lawyers come calling.
Julie and her husband discover that the modern world is complex and that it grinds ever on without pause or concern for their hard work. To survive, they must find out whether love can keep chaos and madness at bay.
Robert Morgan's latest novel, Gap Creek, returns his readers to the vivid world of the Appalachian high country. Julie and Hank's new life in the valley of Gap Creek in the last years of the nineteenth century is more complicated than the couple ever imagined. Sometimes it's hard to tell what to fear most--the fires and floods or the flesh-and-blood grifters, drunks, and busybodies who insinuate themselves into their new lives. Their struggles with nature, with work, with the changing century, and with their disappointments and triumphs make this a riveting follow-up to Morgan's acclaimed novel, The Truest Pleasure.
"Set the canner further back on the stove," Ma Richards said. All the good feeling from the dinner table was gone from her voice.
"Ive got to leave room to set the other one on," I said.
"You wont need room if that tips over on you," Ma snapped. She had changed back to her old self.
Instead of answering I started carving up more fat at the table. I sliced twenty times this way and twenty times crossways. The fat sliced easy as clotted cream or thick jelly. My left hand was so slick with grease I couldnt pick up anything but the blocks of fat. I raked the knife across the board harder than I needed to, to show how determined I was to get the job done and ignore Ma.
There was a little blood on the fat and on the board also, and I hardly noticed when I felt a nip at the end of my middle finger as I held a slab down to slice it. But when I saw the bright blood on the white fat I knowed Id cut myself. A drop fell from the end of my finger, and then ...
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