Book Reviews

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours." Alan Bennett

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Friday, 26 July 2013

Book Beginnings (6) - The Orchardist - Amanda Coplin


Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays


The idea, as stated on the host's blog, is 'to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.' There's a hash tag #BookBeginnings for twitter etc too, and a master linky list on the host's blog. I've got a couple of books on the go at the moment so I've just picked one out to mention here.


My Book Beginning

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin






Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson



'His face was pitted as the moon. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and thick without being stocky, though one could see how he would pass into stockiness; he had already taken on the barrel-chested sturdiness of an old man. His ears were elephantine, a feature most commented on when he was younger, when the ears stuck out from his head; but now they had darkened like the rest of his sun-exposed flesh and lay agains his skull more than at any other time in his life, and were tough, the flesh granular like the rind of some fruit.'


What an intimate and detailed first few lines, quite vividly introducing the man who will be the main character in the novel. I've just started this one and it's beautifully written so far. 



Here's the synopsis from goodreads:

At the turn of the 20th century in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a solitary orchardist, 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 from the market and 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 Talmadage?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 but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past. Transcribing America as it once was before railways and roads connected its corners, Coplin has woven a tapestry of secluded people who come together in the wake of unspeakable cruelty and misfortune. She writes with breathtaking precision and empathy, and in THE ORCHARDIST has crafted 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.

22 comments:

  1. I read The Orchardist last year and absolutely loved it! Hope you're enjoying it :)

    My Friday Book Memes

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    1. That's great to hear! Thank you. Thanks for commenting too.

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  2. Hi Lindsay,

    What some descriptive opening lines, definite page turners for me, I can almost picture Talmadge standing before me.

    There are a couple of slightly different cover versions of this book, however they all have that same simple, yet dramatic effect.

    A book which has received so many great reviews and ratings as this one has, is surely going to find a space on my reading list.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

    Yvonne

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Yvonne! This is the UK cover I believe, it's the edition I'm reading. I'll take a look at the others on goodreads to comapre. I've seen some great reviews for this book too, looking forward to getting further into it.

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  3. They are really detailed opening lines. I love it when you can actually picture what a character looks like because of the description, although it doesn't always work out well. And I agree with Yvonne, the cover definitely has a dramatic flair to it! I hope you enjoy it! :)
    My Friday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Juli! I agree. Thank you! :)

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  4. That story sounds amazing. It isn't the sort of book that I would usually pick up but, after reading the beginning, I am tempted. Happy reading!

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Kathy. It does make you interested, doesn't it!

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  5. Sounds like an excellent novel. I'm glad you are enjoying it. I'm going to look around my book piles because I think I have an ARC of this one somewhere.

    Here's my Friday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2013/07/friday-focus-friday-56-and-book_26.html

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Catherine. I hope you find it and like it too!

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  6. I've heard many good things about this one. And that is a very good way to start it out.

    Thanks for participating in Books Beginnings on Fridays!

    Rose City Reader

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    1. Thanks for hosting Gilion, and hanks for visiting and commenting!

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  7. I have had my eye on this one...great opening lines.

    Here's MY FRIDAY MEMES POST

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Laurel-Rain!

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  8. Interesting story. One I have not seen before. Book Beginning at Mixed Book Bag

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, JC. Off to read your post now!

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  9. The Orchardist is one of my favourite books of the year - hope you enjoy it Lindsay :)

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    1. That's great to hear, Josie! Thank you. :)

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  10. I read this book. Don't let that first line fool you.
    THE ORCHARDIST is a lovely book, and many people rave about it. So you might not want to pay attention to my criticism. Maybe they're right and I'm wrong. But I have two problems with this book.

    First, the author, Amanda Coplin, never lets her readers know any character. She glosses over everything.

    Second, Coplin uses too many sentence fragments, and she doesn't use quotation marks. This is a device, I'm sure, but for what, I'm not sure. I only know that the result for the reader is choppy sentences that are difficult to read. Over and over, I had to reread paragraphs because I had to figure out when someone was talking and when they quit talking.

    There was a good reason things like punctuation and quotation marks, capitalization, and even spaces between words were invented. If a writer cares about her readers, she uses them. If she says the heck with you and doesn't, that's inconsiderate

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, I appreciate your honest thoughts on this one, and I will see how I get on as I continue to read.

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  11. Great beginning. Like the sound of it!!

    Here is my post

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Gautami!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it :)