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The Orchardist [Kindle Edition]

Amanda Coplin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,252 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $8.99
You Save: $7.00 (44%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

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. 



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: Set against the rugged beauty of Washington State at the turn of the twentieth century, Amanda Coplin’s debut novel, The Orchardist, introduces readers to William Talmadge and his lovingly cultivated orchards of apples and apricots. Coplin’s characters are deeply rooted in the mystery of the American West, and she brings them together, like the grafting of Talmadge’s trees, to form a unique family bound not by blood but by the shared experience of tragedy, the land, and ultimately fate.--Seira Wilson

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."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Product Details

  • File Size: 872 KB
  • Print Length: 453 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (February 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007EDCZMW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,614 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
292 of 309 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Orchardist: A Novel is the remarkable achievement of debut novelist Amanda Coplin...storytelling at the hand of a young writer so masterful, to read it is to be transported to another time, another place - to the world of an alternative family of characters who will wrench your heart, touch your soul, and leave you feeling richer for having gained access to their interior landscapes.

There is a relentless stoicism about this novel of intense imagery and descriptive exactitude. With luminous, clear prose all the sensations of the world of the orchardist are evoked, such as the smell of apricot blossoms or rich garden soil; the taste of green apples or wild honeysuckle; the sounds of the wind or bird song in the fruit trees; the shimmering play of light in the plum orchard at sunset or moon shine and countless stars on a clear night; the coldness of the creek water on a hot, humid afternoon or the warmth under a quilt in the bitter cold; the satisfaction of solitude or the emptiness of loss.

But who is the orchardist? I would say there are really two: most definitely the makeshift patriarch of his foster family, William Talmadge, but also one of his adoptees, the girl child who by his own hands was delivered into this world in his very orchard, the beautiful Angelene Michaelson.

Their story takes place in the Pacific Northwest, primarily on a piece of remote and wild land near Wenatchee, Washington, owned and homesteaded by the solitary Talmadge. The story truly speaks of one being wedded to the land as well as of the vicissitudes of the frontier life that mold and shape character.
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216 of 234 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating excursion into an intriguing world June 28, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is truly an extraordinary book; nothing in my previous reading experience, copious and varied as it has been during over six decades of being an unregenerate bookworm, comes close to Amanda Coplin's epic work. I call it epic, because in many ways, it seemed at times to read like a major narrative poem, although certainly not set in verse format.

Having said this much, I find myself truly at a loss as to how to continue. One of the things which I found most difficult was to genuinely relate to the characters and situations, which are extremely far from my own experience. Nevertheless, I found myself completely wrapped up in the concerns of their lives, and caring very deeply about how things worked out.

Another thing that fascinated me was the extremely unusual format - for instance, the complete lack of quotation marks, and the juxtaposition of brief partial page and much longer sections. The small vignettes were brilliantly crafted, and moved the narrative along in an amazing way. Despite the book's length and the fact that the dramatic episodes were interspersed with long quiet stretches of everyday life, I can honestly say that while I sometimes tend to lose interest in novels that are not cliff-hangers in every chapter, it did not happen here.

For the romance novel addict demanding explicit sex scenes, the person who wants vivid descriptions of cruelty and gore, or one who demands an improbable ending where the good guys "win" and the bad guys get a gruesome comeuppance, this book is not recommended. However, if you are looking for a sensitive and vividly presented insight into a time and place that seems to be fully realized, and people who are real even though you may never have met anyone like them, this is a truly fascinating excursion into an intriguing world.
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313 of 348 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Words, words, words August 3, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Orchardist, set at the turn of the twentieth century in the orchard country of Washington State, is part historical fiction, part elegy for a kind of lost Arcadia. Talmadge, a reclusive and sorrowful man who tends apricots, apples, and plums in the unspoiled reaches of the Wenatchee Valley becomes a foster father to two adolescent girls, Jane and Della Michaelson, escapees from a brothel owner who has enslaved them. In time, he becomes a foster father to Angelene, Jane's child. However, it is with the cold and emotionally damaged Della that his life becomes inextricably bound, even though she lives with him for only a few years.

At times, the novel evokes the history of the region: the coming of the railroad, the spread of large-scale orchards and distribution centers, the timber camps, the diminishing presence of the native tribes. (Oddly, there is almost no mention of Washington's tumultuous labor history in this period, although Della works in both a cannery and a timber camp.) However, the intent of the novel does not seem to be toward true historical fiction; instead, there is just enough period detail to sketch in the era.

The larger intent of The Orchardist is a poetic impulse; it seeks to convey the natural beauties of the region, as well as the powerful impression of place on human character and conduct. In this, Coplin is not entirely successful. This is a long novel (425 pages) and there are many many paragraphs devoted to descriptions of the landscape. These reverential passages, as well as the use of lengthy interior monologues, slow the novel down after a time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyed the people the time and thee love
Published 21 hours ago by Penny M. Domingos
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid story of a single man who cultivates both fruit and family
Enjoyed the characters and the way they developed over the course of the book. While none were related by blood, I thought their relationships explored many universal themes --... Read more
Published 5 days ago by am
3.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical little story about a living a simple life. ...
Lyrical little story about a living a simple life. Kind of an anti-epic, characterizations and detail are minimized which lends the book a certain elegant simplicity but deprives... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Mario
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
tired of reading about quiet emotionally undevolped people
Published 7 days ago by Darrell M. Pederson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book and a great young author
Published 7 days ago by Perry H
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
No problems with the order just pages more yellowed than expected.
Published 8 days ago by Laura Fanucchi-banash
4.0 out of 5 stars Geegee
Beautiful descriptive passages, very well written. The ending dragged a bit, otherwise excellent
Published 8 days ago by geegee
2.0 out of 5 stars Different style of telling a story.
It was written in a different style then I'm use to, but it was okay. I felt there was one question that was never answered; whatever happened to his sister.
Published 9 days ago by Linda
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Didn't care for the book. The story line was very very slow.
Published 10 days ago by stormlyn
5.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable tale
I thought the story of the Orchardist was very unique. It is a story of hardship and life. I enjoyed it very much.
Published 11 days ago by Trigger
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More About the Author

Amanda Coplin was born in Wenatchee, Washington, and raised amid her grandfather's orchards. 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 Ledig House International Writers Residency Program in Ghent, New York, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

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