The Orchardist: A Novel

The Orchardist: A Novel

by Amanda Coplin


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The New York Times bestselling novel that is historical fiction at its best—a haunting story about a makeshift family in the American West that follows in the grand literary tradition of William Faulkner, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, and Toni Morrison—now available in a limited Olive Edition.

“A stunning accomplishment, hypnotic in its storytelling power, by turns lyrical and gritty, and filled with marvels.”—National Public Radio

At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he's found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit at the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase.

Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadge's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Just as the girls begin to trust him, men arrive in the orchard with guns, and the shattering tragedy that follows will set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect them but also to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

Transcribing America as it once was before railways and roads connected its corners, Amanda Coplin weaves a tapestry of solitary souls who come together in the wake of unspeakable cruelty and misfortune. She writes with breathtaking precision and empathy, and in The Orchardist she crafts an astonishing debut novel about a man who disrupts the lonely harmony of an ordered life when he opens his heart and lets the world in.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062564603
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 4.50(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Amanda Coplin was born in Wenatchee, Washington. She received her BA from the University of Oregon and MFA from the University of Minnesota. A recipient of residencies from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the Omi International Arts Center at Ledig House in Ghent, New York, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

What People are Saying About This

Salvatore Scibona

“Nearly everybody in the book compels your admiration, either for their courage or for the heavy work they do, all the time and without complaint, even when wicked men are hunting them. Transfixing. I love this book straight through.”

Holloway McCandless

“This is an extraordinarily ambitious and authoritative debut.”

Patricia Hampl

“A rare find—this debut novel that reads with masterful authority. Stately and passionate—a stunning powerhouse. THE ORCHARDIST, like Marilynne Robinson’s GILEAD, drills into history, portraying an apparently modest American way of life but finally presenting us with a great American elegy.”

Charles Baxter

“Patiently beautiful, THE ORCHARDIST builds its characters and its situations so carefully that the story becomes as real to us as this morning’s news. I am in awe of Amanda Coplin’s book, which does not feel like a first novel but a life’s work.”

Wally Lamb

“When you pick up THE ORCHARDIST, you will be lured at first by the lushness of the language. But soon enough the characters will take hold of you and you’ll read on hungrily, as if under a spell. It’s hard to believe that this is Amanda Coplin’s first novel.”

Bonnie Jo Campbell

“To read this mysterious, compelling, elemental novel is to immerse yourself in the world of an old folk song, in which the passions and sorrows of plain people rage unseen and then blossom as madly (and quietly) as apricot trees. In THE ORCHARDIST, Amanda Coplin shows us what’s unknowable.”

Ron Rash

“Amanda Coplin has depicted her northwestern landscape with such fidelity that readers will know its every sight, smell, and sound. Within this world are compelling characters and their equally compelling stories. THE ORCHARDIST is an outstanding debut.”

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The Orchardist 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 200 reviews.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
The Orchardist by Amanda Chopin is a novel tak­ing place in Wash­ing­ton State at the early part of the 20thCen­tury. This is Chopin's first book and is a majes­tic debut, a new book which reads like an old friend. William Tal­madge had had a hard life, orphaned at an early age and los­ing his sis­ter mys­te­ri­ously, he made his liv­ing from a suc­cess­ful orchard which draw in all his tal­ents and energy. Tal­madge takes in two run­away teenager, sis­ters who were both abused and pregnant. Life is rough inWash­ing­ton­State­and Tal­madge is repaid for his gen­eros­ity with a series of events marked with tragedy and vio­lence, as well as a few glim­mers of joy. The Orchardist by Amanda Chopin is a beau­ti­fully writ­ten and haunt­ing novel, a mood not usu­ally cap­tured by first time authors. The prose is lyri­cal and the char­ac­ters enchant­ing, even though they might not be like­able they grow on the reader and make one invest in their future. The rea­son I requested to be on the tour for this book is actu­ally quite nos­tal­gic. Many years ago, what seems like 100 years ago (and unfor­tu­nately, what seems like 100 lbs. as well) I walked along the Inca Trail in Bolivia(slightly less famous than its Peru­vian coun­ter­part which I walked sev­eral weeks later). After a few days we came upon an orchard in the Andes Moun­tains, ran by a Japan­ese orchardist (still inBo­livia) who let us stay the night and eat as much fruit as we can. I also worked in an orchard for a few years, back in Israel- a dif­fi­cult yet reward­ing job which I often view with rose col­ored glasses. So you see, my fas­ci­na­tion with orchards has been life­long, the smell of an orange orchard brings a back many sweet mem­o­ries, I sim­ply could not pass up this book. The depic­tion of the land and the fron­tier land­scape are writ­ten with clar­ity and sen­si­bil­ity as well as incor­po­rat­ing the char­ac­ters within it. The style worked very well for this novel because the peo­ple were part of the land, cul­ti­vated by it and not the other way around. "But the next day he stood in the mid­sec­tion of an apple tree and saw them come mean­der­ing down the orchard rows. He con­tin­ued with the shears in the high branches and watched them indi­rectly. They stopped down the row from him and sat in the grass." The theme of the book, peo­ple don't get over their losses, is estab­lished early on, about a quar­ter through the book. How­ever the Amer­i­can sense of opti­mism which every­thing will work out and good things will hap­pen is always present regard­less of the chal­lenges Chopin throws at her characters. The prose is beau­ti­fully writ­ten, but at time overly stretched. That being said, the author's tal­ent shines through­out the book, I cer­tainly hopes she keeps on writ­ing and am look­ing for­ward to read many more books of qual­ity from her pen.
mtnmansv More than 1 year ago
I chose this book as a change of pace from historical fiction and found it to be a relaxing read for me of a man who loved his fruit trees and the way of life alone working in his orchard. The two young girls that came to him from a life made to serve men sexually changed it all for him. He was gentle and kind to the girls and treated them as family trying to protect them although he was not totally successful in the end. I would recommend this book if you have any interest in the human condition and a simple way of life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The highlight of this book is the literary style. the language and lavish description is amazing. the magic is in the actual words. The down side of this book is that as far as the plot goes, it drags a bit. Characters are good and well developed. But the language!!! Wow!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written. A sad tale with a thread of unconditional love woven through it. The story of a good man , who lived his life unobtrusively, but who left a legacy of love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read! The absolute poetry and musical quality of the prose is second only to the wonderful way the author explores the ways in which we love, share, hang on and let go. This is one of the best works I've read in quite sometime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could 't put it down and didn't want it to end. Hope the author writes more vooks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put this down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book and found it to be a wonderful read. I felt connected to the characters even if I didn't always understand their motivation. The plot is well thought out and the characters are completely drawn and totally believeable. My favorite book so far this year and I read a lot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I listened to this during my commutes back and forth to work. Found myself sitting in my car just listening because i was enjoying it so much.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
Let me begin by saying that I have wanted to read this book since before it was released. I felt drawn to it the moment that I read the synopsis, and the fact that I lived for a time in Washington State and loved the area only compounded my desire. So you can imagine how excited I was to get the opportunity to join this book tour! Talmadge has been alone much of his life. A lone orchard farmer, he has been on his own since his mother died when he was but a teenager, and his sister mysteriously disappeared soon after. Then one day decades later enter two young pregnant girls, and Talmadge has something in his life outside of the orchard to focus on. This story was beautifully quiet and reflective, and it most definitely is character-driven. The story could be very still and quiet at times, and it was only the characters propelling it forward. Talmadge is a very stable, dedicated and committed man. Hardworking, ethical, sober and earthy, he keeps himself apart from the world, both logistically (in his orchard isolated from civilization), and emotionally and psychologically. He is the orchard manifested in human form. Caroline Middey is a "medicine woman" who was called out to the farm when Talmadge was young. After his mother died, Caroline watched over him and his sister. After Talmadges's sister disappears and Talmadge ages, Caroline becomes a good friend and confidant, and later a surrogate mother to Angeline. Clee is one of the Nez Perce that stopover in the orchard a couple of times a year on their way to auction with the wild horses they capture. He and Talmadge become friends as boys, even though Clee is mute and never speaks a word. Della and Jane enter Talmadge's life as two pregnant children, running in fear from a demon. Della becomes a surrogate wild child to Talmadge, and grows to be a half-feral androgynous woman who never stops running from her demons, and who haunts Talmadge to his death. Angeline is born on the orchard to one of the girls, and she grows up in the orchard. Talmadge is the only father she's ever known. She is the female version of Talmadge, and the opposite of Della. Quiet and contemplative, uncomplaining and enduring and resigned, she is a gentle soul, yet tough and determined. This story can be heart-breaking at times, and can grab you by the gut and pull you along. It was as if Della became the main plot of the story, with Angeline the sub-plot, and Talmadge was the catalyst through which to present these two plots. The setting to this story is everything. Without the orchards, this story couldn't exist. It plays such a central part in the lives of the characters. Talmadge loves the orchards, and Angeline loves the orchards, because she loves Talmadge. Like Talmadge, the orchard is "no part of this world", and holds itself apart from everything else, rarely invaded by the outside. My final word: Lovely and lyrical. Descriptive without being overly done. Restrained. Carefully drawn characters deep with emotion. This story is a beautiful example of what makes a family: love, commitment, dedication, forgiveness. Family goes beyond blood. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a slow, quiet read.
LaPapster More than 1 year ago
Poignant, nuanced, richly detailed, with remarkably descriptive passages. The sense of time and sense of place are exquisitely drawn. Coplin does not let me turn away from these people, developed more by what they see and feel and sense than by what they say. I want to see their land. I will remember this book for a long time and recommend it to many but not to all, for this is not a book for everyone. For me, it was that type of book that leaves me just a beat slower to pick up what I read next.... I leave it thinking about how we see wisdom, true contentment, and peace as opposed to mere happiness, facile satisfaction, and what we accept as knowledge.
AgingFast More than 1 year ago
It's an Opus. This is no ordinary writing, it's a fine piece of music that affects your emotions. The topic of abuse is hard, but the story is exquisitely told.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't finish this book. It started out okay but it was so slow and depressing I quit reading it. I do like the lyrical writing style of the writer but that's really the only good thing I can say about this book. Save your money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If i could write a worthy review of this book I would have written this book myself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've read in a very long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Left alone after the death of his parents and when his sister mysteriously disappears the man in the orchard leads a solitary life full of grief. Until two girls pass his way in a desperate attempt at escape from a horrible past his life remains the same each day. Their encounter leaves all changed and a moving story ensues of compassion and love and growing up through the natural rhythms and life in the orchard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I keep looking for another book by Amanda Coplin. I want to go back to that place she took me to. As I recall, I don't know that I adored the characters, but I deeply cared about them. I can't figure out why I was so mesmerized by the story.
Naomi3 More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite book; I highly recommend it. Hoping the author will gift us with more to come!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a "hard to put down" book. I would read it again.
WriteReason More than 1 year ago
A fine piece of writing.  Descriptive in every detail--you feel, witness, and experience this story.  Full of life--joy, sadness, love, hate--emotion!  A story of life, love, compassion, and humility that envelopes the full circle of living experience.  It leaves you with feeling!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! couldn't put it down
MWgal More than 1 year ago
I just finished this wonderful first novel by a young, bright, talented writer. Contains beauty, grit, and character studies. I positively loved this book and it's going down as one of my all-time favorites!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful.