Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Orchardist

The Orchardist
by Amanda Coplin

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  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 at 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 them 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.
Review:  This was a well written book but just not a book for me.  I read the whole thing because I was curious about where it was going but I didn't like it.  The descriptions of people and places are amazingly well detailed and very poetic.  All of the characters were keep to themselves kind of people and they didn't talk hardly at all.  That means that there was virtually no dialogue and I missed it.  From the book description, I would have expected most of the story to take place while the two young girls show up at Talmadge's place.  But that is not the case, the story spans about 16 years.  The book was unnecessarily long.  I don't understand the main character (Talmadge)'s motivation to try to keep track of Della long past when she left the orchard and his obsession with trying to help her.  The characters didn't appeal to me.  There was a part to the story that was really disturbing and hard to get past-I almost abandoned it right then but something made me keep reading.  I did want to find out what happened to the characters and was hopeful that they would redeem themselves or make changes for the better but I don't think that happened.

Rating: 2 stars

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