Thursday, December 27, 2012

"The Orchardist"

I've just finished a wonderful novel called The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin.  Set in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th century, the book explores the intersection of loyalty and loneliness.  Its characters are rich and surprising, facing brutality and heartbreak with patience, courage and honesty.  And it captures the connection between family and land, community and earth, in ways few books ever do.  "Many contemporary novelists have revisited the question of what constitutes a family," writes Jan Stuart in the New York Times (9/7/12), "but few have responded in a voice as resolute and fiercely poetic."  I found something of the Parable of the Prodigal Son in this one.  Made me think long and hard about parenthood, raising resilient daughters, and how far I'm willing to let them go.  And though my track record in recommending novels has been iffy, I'll go out on a limb (kind of play on the theme here) and put five stars on The Orchardist.