Such patience. Such diligence. Such sweet fruit.
In her debut novel, The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin offers us the wonderfully patient and diligent William Talmadge. He finds himself orphaned–his mother dead and his sister disappeared–in the Pacific Northwest. Carefully and tenderly, Talmadge builds an orchard filled with apples and apricots and more. The love he might have offered his mother and sister, or a wife, is poured into his land and all that grows there.
It is not, then, too much surprise that he reacts to the arrival of two dirty, pregnant young girls with the same patience and keen eye he applies to his trees, nor is it a surprise that he tends to them with the same diligence–observing them and trying to read what will allow them to grow in the best way possible. But people are not so simple as plants, for Talmadge at any rate, and what follows from this is a story of endurance and tenderness in the face of great pain and abuse, of the crafting of a family out of the most unlikely circumstances. Coplin walks the reader through the story the way Talmadge walks the orchard–guiding us through all the possibilities for new growth as well as the dangers or fallow seasons and storms. Each of the characters, including the land itself, grow and ripen and age in their own right time. The novel is beautiful in its language, its characterization and in its pacing. I’m not sure how I missed it when it released in 2012. I’m so glad I found it now.
For more details on Coplin and The Orchardist, visit http://amandacoplin.com