|27 December 2012|
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Set in the early part of the twentieth century in the American North West, and hidden amongst a remote community, Talmadge is the taciturn orchardist whose bone deep grief sets him apart, and whose attachment to his beloved apples and apricots are his salvation. When two pregnant girls creep onto his land, he is unprepared for the effect that their presence will have, not just on him, but also on the landscape.
The slow, and almost mesmerizing quality of The Orchardist is so finely done, that even before you reach the end of the first chapter, you realise that you are reading something very special. There is an oblique gentleness to the story, and sometimes it seems that not much is happening, but therein lies its strength, as this book has moments which are far from gentle, and which shock their way into your subconscious with a real jolt. However, there is such a beautiful feeling to the story that even with its burden of tortured feelings and hidden emotions, there is always the hope that the fragility of life will triumph.
To say any more about the story would be unfair, as this book deserves to be read without any preconceptions. I would hope that most reading groups have this somewhere on their reading agenda as it worth talking about in great detail.
On a personal level, I am sure that I have found one of my favourite books of 2013.
My thanks to Newbooks for a review copy of this book.