The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This novel is one where I could definitely utilize a ½ star option – 5 stars for writing quality, 4 stars for story (though on a quality scale this is a 5 also, I just have some personal beefs with the path the author chose to take some characters!) for a grand total of 4.5
This novel follows the path of a non-traditional “family” unit from the beginning of their relationships through much of their formative years together in the late 19th/early 20th century time period. The story is told using many changes of perspective, a very unique and flowing writing style that was almost dreamlike and well-conceived/portrayed characters. It is well-crafted, deeply moving, and profoundly heartbreaking. The pace is slow though not tedious, and even with the slower pace, there is such an ominous atmosphere built up both on the surface and between the lines that you hold a constant and suspenseful feeling of doubt and foreboding, as though something terrible could happen at any moment. Yet, despite the overwhelming sadness that seems to follow everyone around like a stray dog, you cannot help but be moved by and develop a strong feeling toward the characters. While there are definitely some aspects of the story that I did not care for (couldn’t she have interjected SOME hope or happiness?!) but overall I cannot help but be impressed. To write a story with characters so scarred, flawed and detached that can still be so moving is truly a feat of exceptional storytelling and skill with words.
That said…..I hated the ending, and from this point forward may just have to convince myself to remember it the way I had hoped it would be.
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