Diana9009, April 13, 2013 (view all comments by Diana9009)
This is one of those novels I want to carry around to show everyone, to bring up in every conversation even tangentially related to reading or the Northwest. I cried when I turned its final page. I wept for the characters, for the past, for the gift of reading sentences so beautifully and thoughtfully constructed. I reckon this will be one of my top read. Brava, Amanda. Thank you.
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Talmadge lived alone in his family home that really had no family except Talmadge until one day two girls, Jane and Della, arrived on his land and began stealing his fruit. Talmadge let them steal the fruit, and he also fed them. They stayed away from him for the most part and only made an appearance when he put food out for them. Both girls were pregnant, and Talmadge had the midwife stop by to try to get the girls to warm up to her since they would be needing her.
These girls became his family or the best semblance of what a family could be. The book follows Talmadge through the stages of the girls' lives and how their being present in his life helped him be happy as well as allow him to experience the heartache of their growing up and his being a concerned parent. His concern for Della became an obsession.
As you continue reading, you will become extremely involved in the plot and the lives of each character. You will become attached to Talmadge, Della, Caroline, and Angelene and hope things turn out for all of them. Talmadge was an odd person and one you would like to tell to wake up even though he was such a good person. Caroline was the character who held everyone together. Della was not a likable character. And wonderful Angelene was adorable, kind, and a character you will fall in love with.
The book had marvelous descriptions of feelings, landscapes, and characters. It was beautifully written for a first novel. It was as outstanding in writing style, interest, and development of the story and characters as a seasoned author.
I can't give enough praise for this book. It was touching, tender, brilliantly written, mesmerizing, and one you will remember long after you turn the last page.
THE ORCHARDIST is not an uplifting book but the prose and the storyline are so exceptional that regardless of the book's mood it instantly grips you. 5/5
This book was given to be free of charge by the publisher without compensation for a blog tour with TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
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by New York Times Book Review,
"Many contemporary novelists have revisited the question of what constitutes a family, but few have responded in a voice as resolute and fiercely poetic."
by Washington Post,
"Amanda Coplin's somber, majestic debut arrives like an urgent missive from another century. You can only be thrilled by a 31-year-old writer with this depth of understanding...the final epiphany equals in stark grandeur similar scenes in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Pat Barker's Another World."
by Minneapolis Star Tribune,
"Coplin's prose is fresh and compelling....While the ending of this striking debut may not make every reader happy, it is, undoubtedly, the right one for both the book and for Talmadge, an unlikely hero who — like the book — is true to life and sweetly honest from beginning to end."
by The Oregonian (Portland),
"A stunning debut...The Orchardist is a poetic book, but its strength doesn't lie solely in its language. Coplin's understanding of abuse and the lasting effects of fear and loss on the individual psyche are deeply resonant. As a debut novel, The Orchardist stands on par with Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain."
by Seattle Times,
"The Orchardist is engaging and enthralling. The reader wants to turn each page quickly as the story develops, and wants at the same time to dwell on the lyrical moments of sunshine, soil and love."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"There are echoes of John Steinbeck in this beautiful and haunting debut novel set in early-20th-century Washington State...Coplin depicts the frontier landscape and the plainspoken characters who inhabit it with dazzling clarity."
by Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and The Cove,
"Amanda Coplin has depicted her northwestern landscape with such fidelity that readers will know its every sight, smell, and sound. Within this world are compelling characters and their equally compelling stories. The Orchardist is an outstanding debut."
by Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award finalist, American Salvage,
"[A] mysterious, compelling, elemental novel....In The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin shows us what is unknowable."
by Jane Ciabattari, NPR,
"The Orchardist is a stunning accomplishment, hypnotic in its storytelling power, by turns lyrical and gritty, and filled with marvels. Coplin displays a dazzling sense of craftsmanship, and a talent for creating characters vivid and true."
by Library Journal,
"A breathtaking work from a genuinely accomplished writer...Coplin's lyrical style and forceful storytelling provide many unexpected twists before the poignant conclusion."
by Publishers Weekly (starred 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."
"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."
by Kirkus Reviews (starred review),
"Beautifully written, so alive to the magnificence of the land and the intricate mysteries of human nature, that it inspires awe rather than depression."
by Salvatore Scibona, author of The End, National Book Award Finalist,
"Nearly everybody in the book compels your admiration, either for their courage or for the heavy work they do, all the time and without complaint, even when wicked men are hunting them. Transfixing. I love this book straight through."
by Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed,
"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."
by Charles Baxter, author The Feast of Love, National Book Award Finalist,
"Patiently beautiful, The Orchardist builds its characters and its situations so carefully that the story becomes as real to us as this morning's news. I am in awe of Amanda Coplin's book, which does not feel like a first novel but a life's work."
by Patricia Hampl, author of A Romantic Education,
"A rare find — this debut novel that reads with masterful authority. Stately and passionate — a stunning powerhouse. The Orchardist, like Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, drills into history, portraying an apparently modest American way of life but finally presenting us with a great American elegy."
by Denver Post,
"This is a novel to burrow into, to be submerged in a world that is both lovely and hard. It's a world that becomes so real that one only leaves by being forced out by the closing of the covers that enfold it."
by Columbus Dispatch,
"Coplin's grave, graceful prose gives dignity to lives that otherwise might be too sad to contemplate. Her story, which turns in unpredictable ways, is both troubling and touching."
by Dallas Morning News,
"A superb work from an abundantly gifted young writer"
by BookPage, Top Fiction Pick,
"In the end, The Orchardist shares much in common with the fruits its protagonist nurtures: The succulent flesh of the novel will intoxicate readers early on, but delving deeper reveals a hard core that is vital, bittersweet and ultimately timeless."
by Holloway McCandless, Shelf Awareness,
"This is an extraordinarily ambitious and authoritative debut."
by Boston Globe,
"[A] beautiful, powerful novel...The Orchardist has the sweep and scope of a big historical novel...yet Coplin is exquisitely attuned to small, interior revolutions as well. Its language as rooted and plain as the apple trees Talmadge nurtures, this is a gorgeous first book."
by Chicago Tribune,
"[T]he best first novel of 2012...the book brings to mind just how much the effect of reading about the land, the setting, with its lyric pulse, plays a role in the success of a forward moving narrative."
by Harper Collins,
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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