An American classic, The Orchard Keeper is the first novel by one of America's finest, most celebrated novelists.††Set is a small, remote community in rural Tennessee in the years between the two world wars, 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.††Together with Rattner's Uncle Ather, who belongs to a former age in his communion with nature and his stoic independence, they enact a drama that seems born of the land itself.††All three are heroes of an intense and compelling celebration of values lost to time and industrialization.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: disjointed and self indulgent Comment: Having first read "The Road" McCarthy's brilliant apocalyptic tale I was expecting much more from this, his first novel. While the characters are developed nicely there is no story for the reader to grasp, just an occasional glimmer of continuity. What we expect never materializes and the reader is left wondering what they've just spent time trying to digest. McCarthy tends to ramble on about nothing in what appears, at times, to be a Miriam-Webster exercise in obscure and abstract terms. At times it seems as if Mr. McCarthy is peering down his nose at us and saying I'm just too smart for my own good and you, my layperson friends, just don't "get" me. Customer Rating: Summary: A Twist of Faulkner Comment: Other reviewers have noted the extent to which McCarthy owes a debt to his forebear William Faulkner. While he has expanded and extended this into his own style over the course of his career, the obligation is most clear in this, his first novel. THE ORCHARD KEEPER derives its mometum not from plot--which is thin though not entirely inconsequential--but from the depth of characterization and descriptions of nature and the community and from the constantly shifting points of view and occasional italicized forays into memory. While each new section begins with a non-specified "he," this confusion does not last long and serves to unify a sense that all three major characters are operating within a large construct in which their individual identities are smudged. A powerful book about the integuments that underlie our connections. Customer Rating: Summary: Mixed Reviews Comment: I must be reading McCarthy in the wrong order. Started with No Country For Old Men and loved it, his earlier books are much darker. Content was a bit confusing to me but the style makes you keep coming back for more. Customer Rating: Summary: Early McCarthy Comment: I am informally studying Cormac having read his last works first, namely "No Place for Old Men", preceeded by the "Trilogy" and "Blood Meridian". His precise knowledge about the area and customs of his story and the minimilist language which he develops in the later novels is interesting to watch grow. Customer Rating: Summary: Great style, slow going Comment: Having read McCarthy's last four novels I'm developing into a big fan. I don't know of anyone else with his mastery of the language and ability to write razor-sharp, spot-on colloquial dialogue. So I thought I'd give his first novel a try. The incredible descriptions of nature are there, in more or less full flower, and several characters are memorable. The problem for me was that relatively little happens. I kept waiting, and waiting, and although he tossed in a little bit towards the end, in terms of plot it's like a 250-page short story. Don't get me wrong; I wasn't looking for a beach book or Tom Clancy, but in truth it's nice to have someone do something every once in a while beyond walking through the woods. So it's fascinating as a stylistic exercise, but less than compelling as entertainment. If you're hoping for something along the lines of All The Pretty Horses, you may be disappointed. If you love fabulous use of language for its own sake, you won't be.