At the turn of the 20th 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.
©2012 Amanda Coplin (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
This book captures the essence of rural life in eastern Washington during the homesteading period...the independence of the people, their struggles, their silent endurance of tragedy. Their story reminded me of a Greek tragedy...in that their character flaws, which were also their strengths in some way, led inevitably to pain and sadness.
The characters in this book are full of emotions that they can't identify and for which they have no words. Their stoicism makes it impossible to talk with each other. And yet, they learn to read each others' signals, slight changes in bearing, or the eyes, a change in breathing. They "speak" volumes. Ultimately, they do understand each other, but they endure so much pain before they reach that point. Their story was captivating.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of an orchardist (imagine that) in Central Washington at the turn of the 20th century. Spanning some 40-ish years, you learn more about Talmadge, how he lives is mostly solitary life, and how two young girls had a great impact on him. The author is adept at creating empathy with the characters and feeling the deep emotions each experiences.
I especially enjoyed the book because I know the area, the small towns where the story takes place, and I could envision the scenes as the author described them.
The audio version has excellent narration and was well worth the listen.
Nurse. Yarn snob. Bookworm. Cat lover. Color enthusiast. Fabric collector. Gardener
The lyrical way in which the author writes about the American West on the brink of modernity, on the brink of losing its agricultural way of life as the 20th century barrels toward the orchard.
The way Talmadge, a very solitary man, unfolds the hard layers of his personality and opens his long dormant heart to the possibility of forging new relationships with Della and Jane.
I think it would have to be his slow, deliberate voice. He was always steady, never getting carried away with the emotion of the language which really painted a very specific picture of the main character for me.
I fell in love with this book. The author's prose, her descriptions of the landscape and its people were so beautiful that I could fully imagine the orchard in my mind's eye. I liked the slow development of the plot as this really allows you to come to know the characters, to wonder about their motives, to form relationships with each of them. This book is meant to be savored rather than devoured as you contemplate Talmadge's quest to create "family" despite the trouble it invites into his life.
I would highly recommend this audiobook to anyone. The rich narrative, character development make you ache for these people.
His tone reflects the hesitance and awkwardness of the main male character, I could feel the loneliness and longing in Talmedge. Shows the greatest love possible in the human heart that goes beyond sexual feelings.
Probably where he goes to visit Della in jail and she again rejects his help.
Just shows the human heart's unrelenting search to protect and love even when it is rejected and pushed away. Made me understand that a person's life might not be about their own fulfillment but a gift gladly given to those they leave behind.
Tragedy that you know must happen, descriptions of feelings and surroundings desperately beautiful. Poetry.
Caroline Middey...she cares so much, gives him such good advice, but sees the tragedy coming, inescapable, just as the reader (listener) does.
I kept waiting for something to happen...for some "purpose" in this book and never found one. I kept waiting for that one character that I could connect too. Again, I never found one.
I don't think so.
There was no animation in the voice. At first I thought it was just in his portrayal of Talmadge but eventually I figured out that it was all of them.
Yes, some of the descriptions were incredible. I could visualize perfectly and some were almost poetic.
I am not sure I would have finished this book if it hadn't been my book group pick. I couldn't wait for it to be done.
Yes, it's got good pace, you enjoy and empathize with the characters.
there were several and I would hate to give away the story by explaining them.
His pace of reading is perfect for the story, he gets totally involved. I loved his voices, he had given the characters lots of thought.
The name is perfect.
This was a wondeful story and I couldn't wait to keep picking it up.. it makes my walks amazing no matter the weather.
It's a peaceful historical story involving a family of mostly people that stay are joined out of like for each other rather than blood.
The story spans more than seventy years and four generations....there are many.
Poor Mark didn't get to "act out" many characters for none of them were "talkers" He did do a fine job telling the sory.
14 hours worth....not possible. It was reallly long. Pleasant...yes.
I am not overly happy with the ending. I don't necessairly need a happy story but, somewhere in an epic that spans generations something positive is necessary to recount.
After a lifetime of strife, hardship and toil of the protaganist, the author went on to relay the demise of his lifelong work - years after his death..... I am not understanding the necessity of that.
Wow, this was like reading a rough draft or something. Review written by Erica nailed it perfectly. Use a pronoun or use a name. Both? Repeatedly? Absolutely horrible. If the story was really great perhaps one could overlook this. It is not. Seriously, didn't anyone proofread this before printing? Ugh!
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