Wednesday, October 22, 2014
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
Author: Amanda Coplin
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Content Alert: Sexual abuse (not described in detail), some threats of violence
It's the turn of the twentieth century, and Talmadge has been living alone on an apple orchard in Washington State for more than forty years. Then Jane and Della, two feral teenage sisters who are both hugely pregnant and who escaped from a violent brothel owner, appear on the land. Talmadge begins to feed them, and eventually they become like a family. However, the scars of their childhood run deep for the girls, and continue to challenge the family for years to come.
I think a lot of readers would probably find The Orchardist pretty slow, even a little boring. I'll admit that I bought it months ago, and put off reading it because I knew it was the kind of book that required a commitment. But if you know anything about me as a reader, it's that I love epics. I love the books that other people think are too slow, or too detailed. And Amanda Coplin's genius lies in transporting her readers to the turn-of-the-century orchard. This is a book where isolation and trauma and the natural world play heavily into the shaping of the characters, and it's definitely a book worth reading for people who love a slow, meandering, and ultimately rewarding kind of story.