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The Orchardist: A Novel Audiobook, by Amanda Coplin Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Amanda Coplin Narrator: Mark Bramhall Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9780062204851
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,317 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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“[A] mysterious, compelling, elemental novel….In The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin shows us what’s unknowable.” —Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award finalist, American Salvage

“Within this world are compelling characters and their equally compelling stories. The Orchardist is an outstanding debut.” —Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and The Cove

“Coplin is a masterful writer, the teller of an epic, unvarnished tale that sits comfortably with other novels in the tradition of great American storytelling.” —Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed

At once intimate and epic, The Orchardist is historical fiction at its best, in the grand literary tradition of William Faulkner, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, and Toni Morrison. In her stunningly original and haunting debut novel, Amanda Coplin evokes a powerful sense of place, mixing tenderness and violence as she spins an engrossing tale of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West, and the dramatic consequences of his actions. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “When you pick up The Orchardist, you will be lured at first by the lushness of the language, the razor-sharp vividness of the descriptive passages. But soon enough—before you’ve finished the first chapter—the characters will take hold of you and you’ll read on hungrily, as if under a spell. It’s hard to believe that this is Amanda Coplin’s first novel. Already, she is a masterful writer, the teller of an epic, unvarnished tale that sits comfortably with other novels in the tradition of great American storytelling.” 

    Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Amanda Coplin has depicted her northwestern landscape with such fidelity that readers will know its every sight, smell, and sound. Within this world are compelling characters and their equally compelling stories. The Orchardist is an outstanding debut.”

    Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author

  • “To read this mysterious, compelling, elemental novel is to immerse yourself in the world of an old folk song, in which the passions and sorrows of plain people rage unseen and then blossom as madly (and quietly) as apricot trees. In The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin shows us what’s unknowable.”

    Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award and NBCC Award Finalist for Fiction, American Salvage

  • “Immensely affecting…This eloquent, moving novel concludes on a note of affirmation.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Set in early-twentieth-century Washington State, Coplin’s majestic debut follows a makeshift family through two tragic decades…The novel is so beautifully written, so alive to the magnificence of the land and the intricate mysteries of human nature, that it inspires awe rather than depression. Superb work from an abundantly gifted young writer.” 

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Patiently beautiful, The Orchardist builds its characters and its situations so carefully that the story becomes as real to us as this morning’s news—except that the news it brings us is from many years ago and is more dramatic than anything we might have imagined. I am in awe of Amanda Coplin’s book, which does not feel like a first novel but a life’s work.”

    Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love, National Book Award finalist

  • The Orchardist is like one of its characters: ‘an egg encased in iron’—an elemental story filled with the perfection of the natural world. Nearly everybody in the book compels your admiration, either for their courage or for the heavy work they do, all the time and without complaint, even when wicked men are hunting them. Transfixing. I love this book straight through.” 

    Salvatore Scibona, author of the National Book Award finalist The End

  • “A breathtaking work from a genuinely accomplished writer…Coplin’s lyrical style and forceful storytelling provide many unexpected twists before the poignant conclusion.”

    Library Journal

  • “Coplin’s mesmerizing debut stands out with its depictions of uniquely Western personalities and a stark, gorgeously realized landscape that will settle deeply into readers’ bones…The prose abounds with poetic imagery, and the quotation-mark-free dialogue, which could seem like an affectation in a different type of story, emphasizes the melding of these solitary characters with the vast, wild place they choose to call home.”


  • “A rare find—this debut novel that reads with masterful authority. Amanda Coplin’s narrative is both stately and passionate—a stunning powerhouse whose assurance and drive convey a fully imagined world, mysteriously compelling in its unsentimental intensity. The Orchardist, like Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, drills into history, portraying an apparently modest American way of life but finally presenting us with a great American elegy.”

    Patricia Hampl, author of A Romantic Education

  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, August 2012
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2012
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A BookPage Book of the Day, September 2012
  • A 2012 Publishers Weekly Best Book for Fiction
  • Selected for the September 2012 Indie Next List
  • Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2012
  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Fiction
  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 BookPage Best Book for Fiction
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2012
  • Winner of the 2012 Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of Novels on Women in the Wild

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Orville | 2/19/2014

    " I love to read historical fiction about a place I know very little about. Amanda's story took me across the Cascade Mountains to a part of Washington State that I've only driven through and the next time I go there I'll be reliving the story and the history of the place. If Amanda hadn't have done such s beautiful job of telling the story I wouldn't be looking forward so much to going to the otherside of the mountains. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hilarie | 2/9/2014

    " Ms Coplin is the gifted novelist who can drop us into an era and keep the perspective, pace, and dialogue of that era. If we are at all interested in genealogy, this book will give a feel of the bygone time of our ancestors (no matter if they are from the same area of the U.S. as this book). She is able to show how a good man will just follow his moral compass. No wonder the orchardist's generation gave us the greatest generation who fought to free people in 2 world wars and 2 Asian wars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dora | 1/30/2014

    " Beautiful, quiet, sad . . . could not put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beverly | 1/27/2014

    " This is an amazing book. Is one of my top five! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sudha | 1/26/2014

    " The overall tone in the book was very sad and depressing which I didn't like. I thought it would change at some point and become more inspiring but that didn't quite happen for me. I know the book won some literary award which actually rather surprises me. Will have to see what the members of my book club think at our discussion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mundi | 1/25/2014

    " It has been a while since I've read a book this good. I was completely engrossed in this book and hated to put it down (I swear that my commute on the light rail train went much more quickly while I was reading it!) For me, much of the appeal lay in Amanda Coplin's prose. It was simple yet beautiful, and completely drew me in to the lives of the characters. I simply am not capable of doing justice to the book here in this review, but it was beautiful and heartbreaking (Note: if you are looking for a light, happy book, this isn't it.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beverly | 1/24/2014

    " I just glanced through the reviews of this book and have never found such a wide variety of ratings. There is much to admire in this book. The author has a nice touch with the language. Her character development (of lack) is troubling. I had to finish it not because I always finish books but because I kept looking for something. The main character is troubled and damaged as is just about everyone in the book. While the author provided more detail than was necessary in many instances, she failed to include detail when it would have been helpful and advanced understanding. Although I give it 3 stars I was disappointed in a book with so much advance promise. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tamara | 1/17/2014

    " I loved two things about this book: (1) the characters and the way the author presented them in mini-scenes/character studies and (2) the writing style because it kept the story moving forward in interesting ways. Sometimes the book/time moved slowly; while at other times the time moved quickly and the reader only saw an event as a character's memory (not through "real time"). I have to reflect more on how this helped the plot: a lonely orchardist takes in two pregnant run-aways, and they form a family (or do they?). The book portrays struggles of all kinds and is not for those who like super happy endings. It kept me up reading and thinking, though, and that is the sign of a very good book -- in my book! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erin | 1/15/2014

    " Couldn't get through this one... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 1/14/2014

    " started out rather interesting, but bogged down in the middle to the point that I lost interest in the characters and had to force myself to finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela | 1/8/2014

    " I never wanted to put the book down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharyn | 12/12/2013

    " A story of emotional survival set in the Northwest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 10/5/2013

    " Very fine regional fiction. When writing historical fiction many authors struggle to get to get beyond the history and into interesting, original characters. Coplin succeeds very well here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jolyn | 8/4/2013

    " This authors first book was well written, reminder of how secrets cloud everything in our lives. Wish she had delved into the sister. "It's fiction". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trish | 7/13/2013

    " Powerful, unique book. Highly recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 6/25/2013

    " If you're looking for a smile inducing, bubbly, beach read this book is not for you. Loss is the theme and this book delivers. That said, I liked the character development and narrative. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rosella | 3/27/2013

    " A good book. Really dense. Hard to read sometimes for the lives that the characters lived. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steph | 3/18/2013

    " Very unusual and lovely book...but a bit long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 11/8/2012

    " Not my favorite book. It is well written but slow... The characters are the story and I can't relate to them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Glenn | 9/10/2012

    " Beautifully written, and even though you know how it's going to turn out, a heartbreaking read. "

About the Author

Amanda Coplin was born in Wenatchee, Washington, and raised amid her grandfather’s orchards. She received her BA from the University of Oregon and MFA from the University of Minnesota. A recipient of residencies from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the Ledig House International Writers Residency Program in Ghent, New York, she currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

About the Narrator

Mark Bramhall has won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, more than thirty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has repeatedly been named by AudioFile magazine and Publishers Weekly among their “Best Voices of the Year.” He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.