The Orchardist

The Orchardist

Large Print - 2012 | Large print edition
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At the turn of the twentieth century, reclusive orchardist William Talmadge tends to his apples and apricots. One day, two teenaged girls steal his fruit and later return to see the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and pregnant, they take up on Talmadge's land and indulge in his reservoir of compassion. But just as the girls begin to trust him, men arrive in the orchard with guns ...
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, 2012
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410453600
141045360X
Branch Call Number: x Large Print Coll
Characteristics: 671 pages (large print) ; 23 cm

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d
debover60
Feb 17, 2017

Very dreamy, lyrical novel, the pace and character of which is intimately woven into the landscapes, the seasons, the unrelenting hardship and loneliness of a settler's life in Washington in the late 1800s through to the 1920s. The area around Wenatchee, Washington is beautifully evoked, as is Lake Chelan and the early years of the fledgling fruit industry as it grew to the large apple export industry it would eventually become with modern transportation options. On Talmadge's orchard, he is left alone with his thoughts and responsibilities until two violated runaway girls steal food from him, and overturn his carefully ordered life. The cast of characters' words to one another, sparse as they are, merge into their unspoken thoughts, unseparated by notation of grammatical punctuation. The Orchardist is an ode to love, to taking chances on seedlings which might or mightn't prosper, to the risk of welcoming that and those which might grow near you yet break you if lost, to keeping the love steady no matter the cost. The novel drags a bit mid-way, but it is a character-driven and descriptively wrought tale, and it moves itself back on to its steady, hard path, ending not with drums and a marching band, but quiet contemplation. Beautiful literature.

m
miaone
Feb 01, 2017

It held my attention in the beginning, and for the first third, approximately. Then the inability of any of the characters to open their mouths and talk to each other becomes tedious. Then extremely tedious. Finally, unbearably tedious. That would be tolerable if this were a book in which something happens, but it doesn't, much. I could sum up the plot in, probably, 3 sentences. I DID finish the book because it became a challenge to see if I could keep reading it and not throw it against the wall in frustration. Also, while there are lots of paragraphs about the orchard, I never really felt it. In fact, though clearly, by their actions, the main characters do have feelings, their inability to express them even through the author makes them seem two-dimensional. Unfortunately, the two main characters don't even have two dimensions that are clear. No one does.
In short (which nothing in the book was) not the characters, nor the setting, nor the writing is worth the effort of reading this book. It's a slog. You know what happens by reading the summary. Don't expect anything else to happen, because it doesn't.

f
finn75
Dec 04, 2016

Kind hearted hermit like orchardist haunted by the loss of his sister takes in two runaway pregnant girls. It is a lovely and sad story showing how your past if not dealt with can destroy your future.

s
savtadina
Jul 26, 2016

I will be going to Eastern Washington, near Lake Chelan for a week in September, so another in the group suggested that we read this book and discuss it while we are vacationing together.

The book is set at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th in rural Eastern Washington. It focuses on two "damaged families" who intersect. There is a heavy sadness/melancholy throughout the book, alternating with positive flavor as one of the families moves forward in spite of the adversities.

I did get a feel for rural Washington at that time. The descriptions of the scenery and the characters was well done.

p
peacebenow
Feb 20, 2016

Enjoyed this book until about half way. Then their inability to communicate got frustrating. I wanted to finish it and was glad I did.

w
Wong_Anne
Jun 09, 2015

Set in the American west. An older man, who lives alone, rescues two pregnant teenagers who are hiding in his orchard. As he discovers their past, he is determined to protect them and their children. The book takes place over several decades and while it was well written, it didn’t grab me.

p
posie12
May 18, 2015

Lovely story, but the main character is obsessive to the point of distraction.

PimaLib_LisaW May 07, 2015

Beautifully written book that literally took my breath away... to another time and place.

2
21221018293347
Mar 14, 2015

Beautifully written. Each word is part of an intricate picture. I enjoyed the story in that it showed us that it does not matter the setting, the relationships of adult and child are the same, whether in the 20th or 21st century. What we do, how the parent and child interact, is the same.

m
muffin0321
Mar 11, 2015

Good start to the book - it kept my attention. Then started to get a little long and somewhat frustrating. Characters seemed to take a little longer to get to the point with lack of communication, story went longer than necessary. But still a good read and I finished it.

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r
readsavread
Jun 15, 2016

"Set in the untamed American West, a highly original and haunting debut novel about a makeshift family whose dramatic lives are shaped by violence, love, and an indelible connection to the land. You belong to the earth, and the earth is hard. At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, a solitary orchardist named Talmadge carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century. A gentle, solitary man, he finds solace and purpose in the sweetness of the apples, apricots, and plums he grows, and in the quiet, beating heart of the land--the valley of yellow grass bordering a deep canyon that has been his home since he was nine years old. Everything he is and has known is tied to this patch of earth. It is where his widowed mother is buried, taken by illness when he was just thirteen, and where his only companion, his beloved teenaged sister Elsbeth, mysteriously disappeared. It is where the horse wranglers--native men, mostly Nez Perce--pass through each spring with their wild herds, setting up camp in the flowering meadows between the trees.

One day, while in town to sell his fruit at the market, two girls, barefoot and dirty, steal some apples. Later, they appear on his homestead, cautious yet curious about the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, Jane and her sister Della take up on Talmadage's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Yet just as the girls begin to trust him, brutal men with guns arrive in the orchard, and the shattering tragedy that follows sets Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect them, putting himself between the girls and the world, but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past."

APlazek Feb 27, 2013

Amanda Coplin is a born storyteller. The story of the Orchardist is poignant and compelling, covering a nearly 20 year span at the turn of the 20th century. William Talmadge is a loner in his fifties who has been alone for over 30 years on his orchard. When 2 feral, pregnant teenagers begin skulking around the orchard and stealing his fruit he slowly works to create a relationship with them much against the advice of his good friend from town, Caroline Middey. What unflods is a story of love and longing.

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r
readsavread
Jun 15, 2016

“She revered solitude, but only because there was the possibility of breaking it. Of communing at last with another.”

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