Thursday, August 30, 2012
Having just taken a job at a winery overlooking an orchard, I clicked on a recent advertisement for a new novel called The Orchardist and was surprised to find the high praise of my former student/author Salvatore Scibona
“Nearly everybody in the book compels your admiration, either for their courage or for the heavy
work they do, all the time and without complaint, even when wicked men are hunting them.
Transfixing. I love this book straight through.” (Salvatore Scibona, author of THE END, National
Book Award Finalist )
The cover art actually presages the panoramic scope of the book. Based on family history from the author's ancestors in the fruit-rich Wenatchee Valley of Washington state, the novel reads like an old-fashioned story, heavy with description. The comparisons reviewers have made to Steinbeck seem fitting. William Talmadge quietly oversees his apple and apricot orchard, always scanning the landscape out of longing for the return of his sister. One day two pregnant young women appear. Their lives intertwine with his, setting off a plot of treachery, anguish and, ultimately, reconciliation. I loved the fluidity of this - rather long - novel so much, I didn't want it to end. I welcome Amanda Coplin as a fresh young voice in fiction.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
"All life is binary. On and Off. There is no middle setting. Alive or dead. In love or not in love. Kissing or not kissing. Speaking or not speaking. One choice leads to another with no forks in the road." For a first novel, it blew my mind, made me cry and wish for that classroom of kids that I could shake this book in front of. Readers will be talking about this one for a while.
Check out this Snappy robot song and quirky trailer for this book
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Daisy - Innocence, Columbine - Desertion, Yellow Rose - Infidelity. I knew from teaching Hamlet many times over the Ophelia had been schooled in the language of flowers, but didn't know how extensive the glossary of meaning could be until our book club chose this novel. Victoria Jones spent her entire young life in the foster-care system and had difficulty loving or trusting anyone. Once eighteen and out on her own, she sleeps in a public park where she cultivates a tiny flower garden and is befriended by a flower shop owner who discovers Victoria has a gift for choosing flowers based on the emotional needs of individual customers. Reminiscent of the novel Chocolat, this is a story of an outcast longing for human connection. Our book club enjoyed this one, even if it is a bit too predictable.