So far, my CBR9 experience has just been about book club selections. This likely wouldn’t have been a selection of my own choosing, but it is what it is. I’m powering through my ‘required reading’ first, hoping to get to some of MY picks next week (I’m looking at you, copy of Kulti that just arrived in my mailbox today).
The Orchardist is set in the American West in the late 1800’s. We meet Talmadge, an orchardist and quasi-recluse, living a solitary life in the wilderness, having never fully recovered from the childhood losses of his mother and sister. Into this peaceful existence come two young, pregnant, almost feral, runaways- Della and Jane. Their story is tragic, and they gradually become a part of Talmadge’s valley life – their lives becoming entwined with his. The book goes on to tell the story of the protection and rescue the girls need, and how the loss of his sister drives Talmadge to do everything in his power to be that rescuer – a delicate balance that is set up for tension from the start. To say much more than that would be to rain down spoilers from the rafters.
My first impression of the book was one of frustration – none of the dialogue in the book is distinguished by quotation marks. I was annoyed by page 3. By the end, I got used to it a bit, but still found myself having to read and re-read certain passages to determine if what I was reading was a character’s inner dialogue, or if it was actually being said out loud. I’m sure it had a symbolic correlation to the characters’ poor communication with each other throughout, and the constant theme of not saying what needs to be said…..but gah! Annoying!!
The story as a whole was gripping at times, lagging in others- I felt the book probably could have been chopped by a third. My overall feeling at the end is “meh”. I think it’s because in my fiction reading, I want the happy ending, with all the storylines resolved in a pretty fashion. If I want real-world sadness, I’ll pick up something non-fiction….about the real world. This was an entertaining story for the most part…. but it just left me feeling sorta melancholy and like I need to go give my parents a hug.