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The Orchardist

by

The Orchardist Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he's found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadge's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Just as the girls begin to trust him, men arrive in the orchard with guns, and the shattering tragedy that follows will set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect but also to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

Transcribing America as it once was before railways and roads connected its corners, Amanda Coplin weaves a tapestry of solitary souls who come together in the wake of unspeakable cruelty and misfortune. She writes with breathtaking precision and empathy, and in The Orchardist she crafts an astonishing debut novel about a man who disrupts the lonely harmony of an ordered life when he opens his heart and lets the world in.

Review:

"A breathtaking work from a genuinely accomplished writer....Coplin's lyrical style and forceful storytelling provide many unexpected twists before the poignant conclusion." Library Journal

Review:

"Eloquent, moving...an immensely affecting first novel...Coplin refuses to sentimentalize. Instead, she demonstrates that courage and compassion can transform unremarkable lives and redeem damaged souls." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"Coplin's mesmerizing debut stands out with its depictions of uniquely Western personalities and a stark, gorgeously realized landscape that will settle deeply into readers' bones." Booklist

Review:

"[A] mysterious, compelling, elemental novel....In The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin shows us what is unknowable." Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award finalist, American Salvage

Review:

"Within this world are compelling characters and their equally compelling stories. The Orchardist is an outstanding debut." Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and The Cove

Review:

"Coplin is a masterful writer, the teller of an epic, unvarnished tale that sits comfortably with other novels in the tradition of great American storytelling." Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed

Synopsis:

At once intimate and epic, The Orchardist is historical fiction at its best, in the grand literary tradition of William Faulkner, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, and Toni Morrison. In her stunningly original and haunting debut novel, Amanda Coplin evokes a powerful sense of place, mixing tenderness and violence as she spins an engrossing tale of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West, and the dramatic consequences of his actions.

About the Author

Amanda Coplin was born in Wenatchee, Washington. She received her BA from the University of Oregon and MFA from the University of Minnesota. A recipient of residencies from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the Omi International Arts Center at Ledig House in Ghent, New York, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 21 comments:

Reader-Writer, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by Reader-Writer)
Set in Washington state during the late 1800's, a solitary orchardist finds two homeless young girls hiding on his property. They need his help. He puts out food for them as you he might for feral cats, and they gradually tame to the idea that he will not hurt them, as had the man who had been keeping them against their will. Both girls are pregnant, both give birth, but only one of the babies survives. The protagonist is left by the other two to raise the baby girl. He makes their living through the sale of fruit from his orchard.

The plot follows the lives and deaths of all of the characters through some interesting twists and turns. While some places moved slowly, the story interested me enough that I wanted to read to the end.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Kathleen Marie, December 21, 2013 (view all comments by Kathleen Marie)
My book club was excited to read THE ORCHARDIST. While many absolutely loved it, about half of us absolutely did not even like it. Lots of people are enjoying it. I can't see why.

We seem to see the characters through a window. While we watch the action, we are not rooting FOR anyone. Maybe the book should be called THE ORCHARD, because that seems to be the central and uniting "character."

And someone needs to introduce the author to a period! Many of the sentences were so long that I had to go back to find out what the subject was. That was totally disruptive to any mood the author was trying to create. I just didn't care what happened to the characters and that is my "test" for a book. I slogged through it until the end because I knew I'd never finish it if I got started on anything else. It's at least 100 pages too long.

Be sure to read the last chapter. It is an epilogue of sorts but struck me as some of her best writing.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Elizabeth Vollbach, March 24, 2013 (view all comments by Elizabeth Vollbach)
THE ORCHARDIST is a lovely book, and many people rave about it. So you might not want to pay attention to my criticism. Maybe they're right and I'm wrong. But I have two problems with this book.

First, the author, Amanda Coplin, never lets her readers know any character. She glosses over everything.

Second, Coplin uses too many sentence fragments, and she doesn't use quotation marks. This is a device, I'm sure, but for what, I'm not sure. I only know that the result for the reader is choppy sentences that are difficult to read. Over and over, I had to reread paragraphs because I had to figure out when someone was talking and when they quit talking.

There was a good reason things like punctuation and quotation marks, capitalization, and even spaces between words were invented. If a writer cares about her readers, she uses them. If she says the heck with you and doesn't that's inconsiderate

I won THE ORCHARDIST through http://www.ManOfLaBook.com blog.
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(10 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 21 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780062188502
Author:
Coplin, Amanda
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.25 in 22.8 oz

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The Orchardist New Hardcover
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Product details 448 pages Harper - English 9780062188502 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A breathtaking work from a genuinely accomplished writer....Coplin's lyrical style and forceful storytelling provide many unexpected twists before the poignant conclusion."
"Review" by , "Eloquent, moving...an immensely affecting first novel...Coplin refuses to sentimentalize. Instead, she demonstrates that courage and compassion can transform unremarkable lives and redeem damaged souls."
"Review" by , "Coplin's mesmerizing debut stands out with its depictions of uniquely Western personalities and a stark, gorgeously realized landscape that will settle deeply into readers' bones."
"Review" by , "[A] mysterious, compelling, elemental novel....In The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin shows us what is unknowable."
"Review" by , "Within this world are compelling characters and their equally compelling stories. The Orchardist is an outstanding debut."
"Review" by , "Coplin is a masterful writer, the teller of an epic, unvarnished tale that sits comfortably with other novels in the tradition of great American storytelling."
"Synopsis" by , At once intimate and epic, The Orchardist is historical fiction at its best, in the grand literary tradition of William Faulkner, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, and Toni Morrison. In her stunningly original and haunting debut novel, Amanda Coplin evokes a powerful sense of place, mixing tenderness and violence as she spins an engrossing tale of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West, and the dramatic consequences of his actions.
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