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Still a 5!
Well, I've finished and 'The Orchardist' still gets a 5 (only because there are no 10s). What a beautiful story and so beautifully told. I, too, hated for it to end because just reading the words was such pleasure. I won't say much about the plot because each reader should experience the story in their own way. It will go on my shelf - between 'Cider House Rules' and 'The Greenhouse'.
I loved absolutely everything about this book: the cover, the setting, the prose and the characters. That this is a first novel is staggering. Talmadge has lived alone for forty years, after the death of his mother and the disappearance of his sister, tending his orchards and giving a free pass to the wranglers and Indians that come onto his land with wild horses. His characters is stoic, strong, he is someone who always tries to do the right thing and he is someone I would love to meet in real life. Two young pregnant girls appear and they will be the catalyst for one of his greatest joys but also the cause of much sorrow. The beauty of the orchard is sharply contrasted with the violence that eventually comes his way. Although the subject and the tone verge on the melancholic , the novel is so beautifully written , the descriptions of the land, with the orchards so alive that this novel genders much admiration rather than depression. There are so many quotes I could choose from this book but this one is one of my favorites. "Her hair gathered at her neck, its color in the lantern light like a young oak. How like the orchard she was. Because of her slowness and the attitude in which she held herself - seemingly different, quiet - it appeared even a harsh word would smite her. But it would not. She was like an egg encased in iron. She was the dream of the place that bore her, and she did not even know it."
Poetry disguised as prose
I truly did not want this book to end and wish I could read it again for the first time.
I am not completely finished with this book but couldn't wait to give it my '5'. Amanda Coplin weaves a most amazing story of some very unusual, ordinary people. The way she tells the story is true genius. She brings the reader along at a pace of her own choosing - and it is just right. This book, 'The Orchardist' will join my short list of favorites.
I picked it originally because it takes place in a part of the Northwest I am very familiar with. She tells of these places and what they mean to the characters as she tells the story. A story I won't soon forget. Maybe it will go next to 'Cider House Rules'!