The Orchard Keeper Paperback – 1 Jan 2010
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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)
‘There isn’t anyone remotely like him in contemporary American literature’ New York TimesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Set in Tennessee, post Prohibition 20th Century.
Some beautiful passages but often uses overly complex or archaic word choices making it a slow read until you are used to the style.
Not as good as The Road or Blood Meridian.
There are themes and traits here that are found in McCarthy’s other work: vivid descriptions of the natural world (landscape, fauna, flora); a focus on the socially marginal; laconic and stoic men and their rural life-ways (hunting, trapping) and a corresponding absence of well-developed female characters; unconventional punctuation (though there’s more here than you’ll find in his later works, even a few semi-colons); and the realization of a world that has gone, depicted in a matter-of-fact manner.
The guiding spirit of the novel is undoubtedly William Faulkner, whose style and methods McCarthy has adopted unsparingly, from the structuring of the narrative (multiple points of view, jumps in time, pronoun usage that doesn’t always make clear who the narrative focus is) through a number of stylistic quirks to the use of one of Faulkner’s trademark words (‘effluvium’). Like Faulkner, McCarthy’s unfolding drama goes beyond plot and character to give the reader a sense of socio-economic context, here a society and way of life on the cusp of change during New Deal-era America. And as with Faulkner’s work, the novel repays an immediate re-reading.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What superlatives can you add to all the other reviews of this man's work.He is simply the best at what he does. Read morePublished on 28 Feb. 2014 by Paul Morris
Same great emotion evoked with beautifully written prose from McCarthy, bleak, cold, stark but always gripping. Great value on the kindlePublished on 3 Oct. 2013 by Ben