I'm not one to usually read authors that have been on Oprah's Book
Club list if only for the fact that the titles haven't interested
me. So when I received Robert Morgan's latest, THIS ROCK, I
honestly didn't have high expectations, as I knew that his previous
novel, GAP CREEK, was an Oprah selection. However, THIS ROCK is a
Set in the Carolinas during the 1920s, THIS ROCK is a well drawn,
well characterized, well plotted story of two brothers, Muir and
Moody Powell, and the mother that raises them. Muir is a young man
with big dreams but without the wherewithal to achieve them. He
finds something he wants to do, tries to do it, and when it doesn't
go his way immediately, he finds something else to occupy his time.
He wants to know what his life's mission is. Moody is Muir's older
brother. 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.
Their lives, even with all the separation they desperately try to
create between themselves, are entwined. What happens to one will
have an impact on the other along with far-reaching consequences.
And in the end you pull for both brothers, even though you know
something terrible will happen to one if not both.
On the dust jacket it says that the brothers are "as different as
Cain and Abel." Immediately what comes to mind is John Steinbeck's
EAST OF EDEN. Morgan has a Steinbeck quality, giving life and
humanity to the rough and tumble and the down and out. The soul of
the story is in the characters Morgan creates, and the characters
live and breathe throughout. THIS ROCK just might make me turn a
page, so to speak, and start reading a few more Oprah Book Club
Reviewed by Jonathan Shipley on January 23, 2011