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The Orchardist [Kindle Edition]

Amanda Coplin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,184 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: 687 KB
  • Print Length: 453 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 006218850X
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (February 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007EDCZMW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,507 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
283 of 299 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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208 of 225 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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304 of 337 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story
Great story of a simpler time. Although life was often hard. I very much enjoyed reading this book. I have not read this author before.
Published 2 days ago by Linda Middleton
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
A good read .. Enjoyed immensely .. !!
The characters kept you waiting .. for more and more what would happen..
Published 3 days ago by LINDA DRESNER
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent story
Published 5 days ago by Phyllis M. Bacon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
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Published 7 days ago by Maryhill
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it tremendously
Enjoyed it tremendously. Loved the fact that not everything worked out "perfectly". Loved the wording. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Georgia
3.0 out of 5 stars Vivid imagery but too much tragedy
Beautifully written but a bit too much tragedy wrapped up in one storyline, in my opinion. Started and stopped this book a few times because I wanted to find out the ending, but... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Gina M. Sanchez
5.0 out of 5 stars Family comes in many forms
Talmadge has lived alone in an apple orchard for 40 years. His mother and father died and his sister went out one day and never came back. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Susan F. Lick
4.0 out of 5 stars exquisite
Beautifully written, soulful book about Washington state as it was being settled. The relationships and images will stay with me.
Published 12 days ago by Paula R Meyer
5.0 out of 5 stars I've really enjoyed the characters in this book
I've really enjoyed the characters in this book. Sometimes frustrating as the unspoken love, and emotions are always there and you know that they could have been so happy. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Nancy Spalj
3.0 out of 5 stars Reading The Orchardist felt like reading an early draft of what could...
The story is there. The way the story unfolds is effective story-telling. I did not know what was coming and was surprised several times. Read more
Published 16 days ago by onanisland
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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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