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The Orchardist


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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 2 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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(3 of 5 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)
MulchMaid, January 31, 2013 (view all comments by MulchMaid)
Coplin has a sure sense of place and beautifully evokes the region and time period she describes. This is one of those books where the setting seems almost a character in itself. The horrifying situation that initially sets the scene gives way to a revealing meditation on the long-term effects and consequences for everyone connected. This spare and eloquent novel was easily my favorite book of 2012.
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travelerjeanne, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by travelerjeanne)
Everything a great novel should be, with characters you love or hate or hate to love, a wonderful sense of place and writing so rich you feel the earth vibrate when the horses gallop.
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Product Details

Coplin, Amanda
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
9 x 6 x 1.25 in 22.8 oz

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The Orchardist Used 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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