Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Review - The Orchardist

Powell's Books · Barnes & Noble
Amanda Coplin ©2012

This is a beautifully written book with a well developed sense of place. The language is lovely, I could smell the grasses mingling with the flavors of ripened fruit and undertones of earth. The long grasses tickled my legs as the warm wind stroked my hair. Sweat beaded and rolled down my back as I worked. I saw this place, this orchard, in full color and vigor. I felt the character's pain and longing, and at times terror. It was a gorgeous set-up for a story.

But the story sucked.

During the first two hundred pages I was absorbed. I felt it was going somewhere. I kept guessing how back story would tie into current developments. I anticipated dramatic plot twists and satisfying turns. (E.g. I really wanted the baby that Talmage was raising to be a descendant of his sister that disappeared when they were kids.)  But nowhere in the three hundred pages that followed did they come. The characters grew old and their story threads died with them. Nothing came full circle. The last remaining character, without ado, sells the orchard—one of the most delicately written characters—which then changes hands several times and eventually runs feral. 

But she dreams about it. Psssht. Whatever.

I closed the book feeling depressed and disappointed. It was fiction, but it could have been real; where a lot of stuff happens, you're frustrated and disappointed a lot, there is beauty too, then you die. I couldn't find the purpose or point to this story.

Not really why I read fiction.

On the other hand, this book is revered by many.  So it's likely that I am just odd.... 

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