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Amanda Coplin grew up in the apple-growing Wenatchee Valley, on the sunny side of Washington state's Cascade range, surrounded by her grandfather's orchards. Talmadge's mother tends to the first orchard — Gravensteins — and befriends a neighboring band of Nez Perce men who. The Orchardist: A Novel [Amanda Coplin] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The New York Times bestselling novel that is historical fiction at. The Orchardist has ratings and reviews. Will said: Let's state it up front. This is a GREAT book. Not a pretty good book with some nice qual.


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The land itself is family. There are other manifestations of this connection between people and nature.

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

The Nez Perce deal in horses and one of the girls becomes enamored of these animals the way Talmadge is bound to his orchard, seeing in the horses the same presence of a lost loved one that Talmadge sees in his land.

Coplin, whose parents owned orchards in the Wenatchee County where her novel is set, knows of what she describes In my family, which is somewhat nontraditional some of us are related by blood, some not there is a history of domestic violence, and sexual and substance abuse.

When I was growing up, only some of this was known to me—I sensed it without understanding what it was—but what was immediately before me, what was right in front of my face was the immense beauty of the landscape—orchards, wheat fields, forests—and people who did not hurt me, but loved me very much and were affectionate and kind.

There is such sadness here. We feel with Talmadge the the orchardist of his sister, and it is hard not to choke up even when recalling this, long after having read the book.


There is also the fire of hope that Talmadge guards, nurtures, that offers light by which to steer his course. He travels a hard road to find what he wants, needs, to give what he the orchardist, what he must.

You cannot read this book without coming to feel for this man, and to admire the skill, and clearly love, with which he has been crafted.

I thought of The Old Man and the Sea, except in this case the fish the old man is trying to bring home is a lost soul of a young woman, who is in danger of the orchardist consumed before he can the orchardist her to port.

A Lyrical Portrait Of Life And Death In The Orchard

Coplin, though, says that her models were Faulkner and Toni Morrison. I leave it to those better versed than I to go into detail on those comparisons. There is beautiful mirroring in use here. Talmadge is searching for some peace, denied him as a child, while the young woman he wants to help is searching for a peace of her own, the orchardist long denied her by the guilt she feels for a decision taken when she the orchardist still young.


Both Talmadge and his charge keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves. A scene in which horses are broken reminds a runaway of the orchardist people were broken in her earlier experience.

Silences pervade in this remote place. Clee, of course, does not actually speak at all, and we learn that Elspeth had difficulty speaking as well. The two runaways also speak little. There is an existential theme that permeates. There was no wilderness to lose oneself inside.

She touched her face in the dark: But then, she thought, her self was nothing. Later A gentle wind, a kind of sighing, moved over the earth; and for a moment he felt as if his body had evaporated And again when she was alone, when she was working, it was as if she forgot about herself.

It seemed strange to state it this way but it was as if she had no outline, no body, even though the work was very physical.

Where did her mind go? Her mind was steeped in the task at hand.