This Rock

A Novel

This Rock

Jessica Ronky Haddad Style Weekly Transports readers directly to the wild and forgotten mountains of North Carolina and to the secret, hopeful places in a young man¹s heart. From the author of Gap Creek the international bestseller and winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for fiction comes the gripping story of two brothers struggling against each other and the confines of their 1920s Appalachian Mountain world. Muir and Moody Powell are as different as Jacob and Esau. Muir is an innocent, shy young man with big dreams and not the slightest idea of what to do about them. Moody, the older, wilder brother, takes to moonshine and gambling and turns his anger on his brother. Through it all, their mother, Ginny, tries to steer them right, while dealing with her own losses: her husband, her youth, and the fiery sense of God that had once ordered her world. When Muir discovers his purpose in life, the consequences are far-reaching and irrevocable: a community threatens to tear itself apart and his family is forever changed. This Rock is the most ambitious and accomplished novel yet from an author whose sentences ³at their finest . . . burn with the raw, lonesome pathos of Hank Williams¹s best songs² (The New York Times Book Review). ³Homespun pleasure.² Nelson Taylor, Providence Journal ³Hell-bent and excellent . . . I can¹t shake the first scene. . . . resonant . . . moving.² Katherine Whittemore, The New York Times Book Review ³Morgan¹s prose is sharp and saturated with details . . . [imbued] . . . with a sort of lyrical sheen . . . both moving and spiritual.² Michael Paulson, Bookpage Robert Morgan, the author of the award-winning novel Gap Creek, is a native of the North Carolina mountains, where he was raised on land settled by his Welsh ancestors.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743225793 | 
  • September 2002
List Price $14.00
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Reading Group Guide

From the author of the bestselling Gap Creek comes the story of two boys coming-of-age in the isolated, fundamentalist world of 1920s Appalachia. Moody is the wild one, forever in trouble, given to spending time with prostitutes and bootleggers. Muir has big dreams of leaving home and becoming a preacher or builder, but is shy and unsure of what steps to take. Their widowed mother, Ginny, struggles to move beyond her losses and keep the family together.
After several failed attempts to find his calling, Muir resolves to build a stone church with his own hands on the family land. The consequences of his plan are more grave and far-reaching than anyone could have anticipated. In colorful and detailed prose that alternates between the point of view of Muir and Ginny, Robert Morgan brings a remote time and place to life and tells a moving story.
Discussion Points
1. Constantly clashing with one another, Muir and Moody often seem as different as two brothers could be, both in temperament and action. Are there similarities between them as well that emerge over the course of the novel? At what moments do the two come together? Why?
2. As Muir and Moody begin to forge their own paths at a young age, Ginny appears to be a helpless bystander. And yet, as she herself comes to see, "A mama has more influence than she realizes sometimes" (page 258). What effect does Ginny hav see more

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About the Author