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Extended Audio Sample All the Living: A Novel Audiobook, by C. E. Morgan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (708 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: C. E. Morgan Narrator: Julia Gibson Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2015 ISBN: 9781440708404
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Aloma is an orphan, raised by her aunt and uncle, educated at a mission school in the Kentucky mountains. At the start of the novel, she moves to an isolated tobacco farm to be with her lover, a young man named Orren, whose family has died in a car accident, leaving him in charge. The place is rough and quiet; Orren is overworked and withdrawn. Left mostly to her own, Aloma struggles to settle herself in this lonely setting and to find beauty and stimulation where she can. As she decides whether to stay with Orren, she will choose either to fight her way to independence or accept the rigors of commitment.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Simply astonishing…A book about life force, the precious will to live, and all the things that can suck it right out of a person,”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Astonishing.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Rarely in this reviewer’s memory has a debut novel emerged with such a profound sense of place…Descriptions are so vivid, yet so integrated and organic, that the reader can almost feel the lassitude of stifling humid air; smell the rich, warm earth; and see the furrowed fields, the dark mountains in the distance…A slow, seductive dive into another time and place, a deep, quiet place.”

    Boston Globe

  • Finalist for a PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandra | 2/16/2014

    " Written in a different form from most books with vivid descriptions of time and place, dialogue, and the voice of a true Kentucky mountain individual. The story of an orphan girl who meets a young man and later moves in with him at the family homestead after his parents are killed in a car accident. Her one love in life is playing the piano and she volunteers at the local church so this fills her empty days while the young man farms the land from sunup to sundown. An interesting book, a good book, and a fast read that is well worth your time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 2/11/2014

    " The literary equivalent of a Grant Wood portrait with its haunting realism. I agree with many book reviewers that this novel is destined to become a classic. It was an honestly plotted story centering on a young woman who years to follow her dream of studying the piano at a college, but is instead lured by an attractive young farmer. She follows him to his farm where he battles drought. She is not a farm girl, but was raised in a charity school and has no skills. She finds a dusty old cookbook and learns how to prepare meals. She becomes drawn to a preacher who allows her the use of a piano in his church. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noreen | 2/8/2014

    " The writing is quiet and beautiful. The characters are terminally damaged and they don't so much grow and change as stay in place and suffer. This sounds awful, but it is actually really engrossing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Pascal | 2/2/2014

    " a small masterpiece. she makes you feel the strain in your arms and legs when she talks about bringing in the tobacco. the frustration these 2 feel about not being able to talk to each other, desolate lives and grief at loss. i was surprised when she left the farm to play the piano secretly. where did she get the strength to leave every day to pursue a passion. she uses what is available to her in a way the is surprising and understandable. the relationship with the preacher is a gem of storytelling , sad and sweet. both the young people are strong and fascinating in their difficult every day lives. im a lousy reviewr but a good reader, so read it, youll be glad. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Donna Conley Birney | 1/31/2014

    " I think this writer has wonderful potential, but it didn't show in this novel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Charles White | 1/30/2014

    " Just absolutely terrible. The style apes McCarthy, but misses all the gravity. Idle showboating without the boat, or the show for that matter. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 1/19/2014

    " This book was a struggle to read, but a good book with a good story just the same. I wanted to many things for Aloma and Orren and found myself rooting for them the whole time. It was an interesting concept for a book and although it was extremely slow at times, I found it to be a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linnet | 1/19/2014

    " Aloma leaves her piano to join Orren on his tobacco farm. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gabby | 1/12/2014

    " A little slow paced... loved the ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maddelyn | 12/30/2013

    " Slow & subtle, but beautifully written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 11/24/2013

    " Fits in the "quiet" novel category and does a good job of sucking the reader into the tension and desolation of Aloma and Orren's lives. I wanted to like it more, but maybe I've read too many novels of this ilk that were written slightly better (e.g. Robinson). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jayne | 11/13/2013

    " Plods along but has real integrity and beauty and certainly depicts the raw layers of Appalachian struggle. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Uri | 11/2/2013

    " One of the worst books I've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 8/14/2013

    " If you like Marilynne Robinson, you will like this book. Beautiful writing. Lush. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andrew | 8/8/2013

    " Some very nice turns of phrase but ultimately there is not enough happening to keep my interest. Reminds me strongly of Robinson's GILEAD. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renee T | 7/13/2013

    " I think this is my favorite book of the past several years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 4/26/2013

    " A wonderfully terse book about men and women and life and love - beautiful language and dialect that doesn't get in the way of the story "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emma | 3/24/2013

    " This is why I read. What a privilege to read such pitch perfect dialogue and beautiful prose. This book will resonate with me for a long time. I strongly visualized the farm and characters, maybe a movie some day? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robbie Morgan | 12/23/2012

    " Tenderness appears in small moments and the edges of the rough quality of our connections with one another scrape the calves and ankles and although just barely break the skin are felt constantly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 6/13/2012

    " Sparsely written complex story of loss,love and life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nikki | 6/4/2012

    " This book was interesting -- but I felt like it lacked in a lot of places. It was a quick read and enjoyed it, but was left wanting more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Louie Verile JR. | 5/4/2012

    " really good stuff with characters you can care and relate to. I found myself sympathizing with Aloma and her situation. Worth reading, blew through it in a week. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lorenzo Pulici | 12/19/2011

    " dry grass & shadows "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marysa | 9/23/2011

    " Beautiful, almost Biblical prose. Deceptively simple. Amazing sense of place, and characters with so much just under the surface that the whole book just kind of...trembles. Loved it. Loved the music. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelli | 9/10/2011

    " Deceptively simple. One of the best books I've read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tess | 6/23/2011

    " Such a fulfilling read and so beautifully written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clytee | 3/10/2011

    " Read it for book club. It was medium interesting. I could understand her, maybe not him. Women have been
    put down for eons. Sad.

    p. 134: "Morning light is good for the soul. I believe that." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gerianne | 2/17/2011

    " a slow start
    but then becomes spare, quick novel about young couple in rural KY in or around 1970; she was orphaned at 3; he was orphaned at 22; will they stay together? loved the voice on the "playaway" tape. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kali | 1/21/2011

    " This is a quiet and subtle novel with absolutely exquisite prose. Not a page-turner with any real sense of urgency or the unexpected, but still a beautiful, engaging story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marysa | 1/16/2011

    " Beautiful, almost Biblical prose. Deceptively simple. Amazing sense of place, and characters with so much just under the surface that the whole book just kind of...trembles. Loved it. Loved the music. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bobbi | 1/14/2011

    " Forget about it. Time and place are never really established. Characters are sketchy and some plot points are unbelievable. This may be the worst book I've read in its entirety in years! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 12/28/2010

    " This is a beautiful, quiet book that slowly reveals its beauty. A careful look at the compromises necessary to make a relationship work. Gorgeous writing, particularly about landscape and character details. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 12/21/2010

    " I loved this book. It is a simple story beautifully written. You can feel the southern heat, smell the tobacco in the fields, feel the tension, the hopes, the fears and the love as this young couple searches for who they will become. This book should become a classic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Audrey | 12/9/2010

    " i liked this book! it had a lot of feeling and i liked how there were no quotations. however the book moved too fast and there was no story to the characters. i liked it but i probaky wouldn't recommendd it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Featherbooks | 12/3/2010

    " I didn't have the will to go and finish this bleak tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linnet | 12/1/2010

    " Aloma leaves her piano to join Orren on his tobacco farm. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 11/30/2010

    " It was okay. The storyline is a bit trite but rather well written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 11/28/2010

    " Beautifully written and tender. I wondered if a self-taught Eastern Kentucky boy could really end up theologically where Bell did; I doubt it. But I liked the gracious way Morgan presented each character. Look forward to her next book. "

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About the Author

C. E. Morgan studied English and voice at Berea College and holds a master’s in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. She was named one of the five Best Writers under 35 by the National Book Foundation.

About the Narrator

Julia Gibson received an MFA from New York University. She has appeared on Broadway and other major stages in New York, as well as regional theaters from Dallas to San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and more. Gibson has played major roles in productions such as The Seagull, Angels in America, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her television and film credits include Michael Clayton, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Spin City, and One Life to Live.