Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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
"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)
"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
"[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
"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
"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
"Beautifully written, so alive to the magnificence of the land and the intricate mysteries of human nature, that it inspires awe rather than depression." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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.