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The Orchard Keeper
 
 

The Orchard Keeper [Kindle Edition]

Cormac McCarthy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Set in a small, remote community in rural Tennessee in the years between the two world wars, The Orchard Keeper is an early classic from one of America's finest and most celebrated authors. It tells of John Wesley Rattner, a young boy, and Marion Sylder, an outlaw and bootlegger who, unbeknownst to either of them, has killed the boy's father. Cormac McCarthy's debut novel is a magnificent evocation of an American landscape, and of a lost American time. 'The feeling for the land and seasons is so intense as to be part of the story and there are scenes one will never forget . . . A complicated and evocative exposition of the transience of life' Harper's 'A true American original' Newsweek

Book Description

Set in a small, remote community in rural Tennessee in the years between the two world wars, The Orchard Keeper is an early classic from one of America’s finest and most celebrated authors. It tells of John Wesley Rattner, a young boy, and Marion Sylder, an outlaw and bootlegger who, unbeknownst to either of them, has killed the boy’s father. Cormac McCarthy's debut novel is a magnificent evocation of an American landscape, and of a lost American time. ‘The feeling for the land and seasons is so intense as to be part of the story and there are scenes one will never forget . . . A complicated and evocative exposition of the transience of life’ Harper’s ‘A true American original’ Newsweek

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 492 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0679728724
  • Publisher: Picador (10 Dec 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FV4T4I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,423 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island. He later went to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while writing his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. The Orchard Keeper was published by Random House in 1965; McCarthy's editor there was Albert Erskine, William Faulkner's long-time editor. Before publication, McCarthy received a travelling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which he used to travel to Ireland. In 1966 he also received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, with which he continued to tour Europe, settling on the island of Ibiza. Here, McCarthy completed revisions of his next novel, Outer Dark. In 1967, McCarthy returned to the United States, moving to Tennessee. Outer Dark was published in 1968, and McCarthy received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. His next novel, Child of God, was published in 1973. From 1974 to 1975, McCarthy worked on the screenplay for a PBS film called The Gardener's Son, which premiered in 1977. A revised version of the screenplay was later published by Ecco Press. In the late 1970s, McCarthy moved to Texas, and in 1979 published his fourth novel, Suttree, a book that had occupied his writing life on and off for twenty years. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, and published his fifth novel, Blood Meridian, in 1985. All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of The Border Trilogy, was published in 1992. It won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later turned into a feature film. The Stonemason, a play that McCarthy had written in the mid-1970s and subsequently revised, was published by Ecco Press in 1994. Soon thereafter, the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing, was published with the third volume, Cities of the Plain, following in 1998. McCarthy's next novel, No Country for Old Men, was published in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by a novel in dramatic form, The Sunset Limited, originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first novel 17 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback
McCarthy's first novel addresses themes returned to in later works. Man's relation to nature is a key theme in this work, in which hunting (of animals and of men) is a recurring image, as is the weather. There is also a constant struggle between choice and chance in shaping the lives of the characters in this novel.

The dialogue, humour, beauty, and brutality usually displayed in McCarthy's work is evident here. Not as dense or horrific as something like Blood Meridian but not the best McCarthy novel to start with either, I'd suggest All the Pretty Horses or No Country for Old Men.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Language 19 Dec 2010
By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This first novel by Cormac McCarthy hooked me with its striking, poetical prose - reminding me of Dylan Thomas but much darker and more uncompromising. Although I have never visited Tennessee, the author conjures it in vivid images of the remote, mountainous landscape, the weather, wildlife and local people living close to the breadline but capable of unexpected acts of kindness. He also captures the rhythm and wry humour of their dialect.

The mainly short scenes shift backwards and forwards in time so that it is often hard to work out who the subjects are, what is happening and why. McCarthy has a gift for creating tension: when the bootlegger Sylder is driving an unwelcome hitch-hiker back to Knoxville you know that it will end in violence. But for the most part the plot is thin, and the author seems mainly interested in describing in minute detail incidents of daily life which he must have observed - the sensation of driving along roads "ferruling through dark forests of owl trees, bat caverns, witch covens"; a boy laying his first traps; an old man's relationship with his dog. On a more dramatic note are the memorable descriptions of the balcony of the Green Fly Inn cracking under the weight of drinkers to crash into the canyon below, or later the old man under gun attack in his shack, for reasons yet to be revealed to the rearder.

The story is very male-dominated - focus on sleazy bars, hunting, seeking vengeance through violence, plus the at times corny rapport between tough men and the young boys they teach to track coons with dogs, and seek to guide with homely wisdom.

Some initial scenes of the sex-or-is-it-rape-in-a-church variety were so distasteful to me that I nearly gave up, but I am glad that I persevered.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glimmers of a master 13 July 2010
By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I would like to start by commending E, Weech's review above and only write to more or less concur. This is not a good starting point if you are uninitiated to Cormac McCarthy as being his first novel he was still mastering his craft, which is why I am only giving 4 stars as his later work is increasingly brilliant. He writes evocatively of a time in America that although harsh he clearly views with admiration and affection. He is almost poetic in the way he describes places, people and events. He also encompasses the full range of feelings and emotions from love to hate and warmth to utter dejection.

This book reminded me slightly of 'Sutree'(which is allegedly autobiographical)in that it is a sort of conglomerate of tales that are interwoven more by location than any clever or contrived plot twists. I found it utterly absorbing, moving and wonderfully written but one to read after you have been converted. It is fairly short too and I devoured it in a few sittings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his other novels 8 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have now read all of Cormac Mccarthy's novels coming to this one last. I enjoyed every single one of his books for the reasons that other reviewers give but found this less enjoyable to read. It darts about in time and place in a disjointed way so that the reader never knows quite where you are with the story and which character is featuring in the short sections that he uses. Since this was his first novel, maybe he was trying to impress with literary techniques? I would recommend any other of his books but those new to his writing should maybe start with one of the others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great style 1 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
as with all Cormac books i have also enjoyed reading this book. Being the first novel you see flickers of his future novels within it, its amazing to see where the later books are expanded from an ember of a sentence in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars He just gets better 28 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What superlatives can you add to all the other reviews of this man's work.He is simply the best at what he does.
No-one else gets into the head of his depicted characters quite like he does.
I discovered this man late in life but I don't care - now I have discovered him it was worth the wait.
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