Friday, November 9, 2012
Way out in Wenatchee
I was delighted to learn about Amanda Coplin's debut novel The Orchardist right around the time I had planned to visit a local orchard to do some apple picking. Also, having lived for many years in Seattle and been to Wenatchee, I was interested to read a book about the beautiful part of Washington state east of the mountains. In many ways, The Orchardist was a great book for the fall season. It was a book that took its time, with many lush and vivid descriptions of the natural landscape and life on the orchard. The story centers around Talmadge, a man who lives in solitude on his orchard until he unexpectedly becomes intertwined with two young women, Della and Jane, who escape difficult circumstances. This was a well written, engaging first novel from Coplin, but it tended to drag on and ultimately I felt the book focused more on the depressing elements of the character's lives without enough focus on the redemptive spirits of the protagonists. The descriptions of hardships and emotional challenges seemed to be more finely written and believable than the moments of happiness and connectedness.