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Extended Audio Sample The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession Audiobook, by Susan Orlean Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 5 3.76 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Orlean Narrator: Anna Fields Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781615730827
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John Laroche, an obsessed Florida plant dealer, is willing to go to any lengths to steal rare and protected wild orchids and clone them—and all for a tidy profit. But the morality of Laroche’s actions do not drive the narrative of Orlean’s strange, compelling, and hilarious book. She is much more interested in the spectacle this unusual man creates through his actions, including one of the oddest legal controversies in recent memory, which brought together environmentalists, Native American activists, and devoted orchid collectors. She follows Laroche deep into Florida’s swamps, tapping into not only the psyche of the deeply opinionated Laroche but also the wider subculture of orchid collectors, including aristocrats, fanatics, and smugglers whose obsession with plants is all-consuming. Orlean portrays the weirdness of it all in wonderful detail, but, ultimately, the book is primarily about passion itself and the amazing lengths to which people will go to gratify it.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Muzzammil | 2/13/2014

    " buku tentang bagaimana seorang penggemar anggrek memperlakukan benda kesayangannya "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 2/11/2014

    " I picked this up after reading Ira Glass's New Kings of Non-Fiction: She had a profile piece of a 10 year-old boy in there that was one of the best pieces of non-fiction I've read in a long time. I decided it was time to check her out. So far, so good..... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla | 1/16/2014

    " A loving portrait of south Florida-- a place which is sometimes difficult to love! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Will Byrnes | 1/15/2014

    " This all began with a magazine article Orlean was writing about John Laroche, the title character. She headed down to Florida and spent months studying the guy and the environment in which he lived. It is an interesting tale. The book broadens from this introductory piece to cover other things Floridian. She examines the orchid community/sub-culture in considerable detail. There is much there to consider, not only in its contemporary expression but in the history of orchid acquisition and cultivation. It is a dog-eat-dog world, both for adventurers who travel to remote places to acquire rare species, and for botanists who nurture these finds and attempt to clone and modify orchids to keep the creative act moving. It does come to actual physical violence. Orleans looks at the vagaries of Florida Real Estate scamming as well as quirks in legislation relating to environmental protection and Native American rights. She finds characters all around, and finds also a focus on passion. This was an enjoyable, informative read. Orlean has a style that is accessible. She never tries to make you feel that she is smarter than you. She acts as a representative of us all in looking at this world with a bit of twinkle in her eye, as well as an appreciation for the beauty not only of floral pulchritude, but of varieties of human experience. P 279 “It’s not really about collecting the thing itself,” Laroche went on. “It’s about getting immersed in something, and learning about it, and having it become part of your life. It’s a kind of direction.” "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jillian | 1/11/2014

    " Too many orchid facts. Not enough story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 cassie | 1/5/2014

    " Lots of information on orchids, but the author meanders too much. Stay on topic! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanine | 1/4/2014

    " I loved this book... I found it to be fascinating. Anyone that moves to Florida should read this. It shows the side of Florida that many people don't know about. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rowan | 10/14/2013

    " Thoroughly researched tale of orchid cultivation, commerce, and fetishization. The detail is wonderful, just not the writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allie | 9/20/2013

    " A wonderful story of obsession that will make you never want to take a passing interest in anything ever again, afraid it will spiral out of control. I also never want to own an orchid as they seem to be the most beguiling of the plants... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 9/7/2013

    " DAMN THAT WAS A LOT OF PLANTS "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 9/4/2013

    " It's frequently easy to forget that this is a nonfiction book. The characters, places and events are extraordinary, and the writing is imaginative and absorbing. I'll never look at an orchid quite the same way again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzette | 7/1/2013

    " Expected to learn more about orchids. Why are people so crazy about them? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eileen | 1/18/2013

    " Quite an interesting book with so much background information on a variety of topics: orchids, orchid history, collectors of old, Florida land deals, the swamps, and more. There was a sense of things not being resolved at the end. Can this guy be for real? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tonya | 9/2/2012

    " A really good book about obsessions-- as much the author's as her subjects. I recommend this book highly! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gena | 8/29/2012

    " This books is amazing. It is gripping, exciting and unexpected. READ THIS. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina | 7/20/2012

    " Read this book. It is really well written and the characters are crazy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 6/16/2012

    " Susan Orlean is wonderful. You don't need to know your oncidium from your paphiopedalum to enjoy this read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicky | 5/27/2012

    " This is the book that became the movie "Adaptation" with Nicholas Cage and Mery Streep (playing Susan Orlean). I enjoyed the book and its theme of obsession but the movie was remarkable for the twist that was added. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 5/11/2012

    " A tale of obsession, which happens to be about orchids, but has wider application. I learned a lot about orchids, plant genetic manipulation and Florida. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luke | 10/20/2011

    " Definition of obsession! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Megan Anderson | 8/8/2011

    " Couldnt be more boring. Seriously, how many times does she have to say that orchids are rare and hard to grow! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 carolyn | 7/31/2011

    " I've seen Adaptation many times and I love orchids (I have 4 sitting on my desk in front of me) so I've always wanted to read this book. It was very interesting with great information on Florida history and orchids of course. I give it a mediocre rating for it's very mediocre ending. meh "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexis | 6/9/2011

    " Less about orchids than it is about the nature of obsession. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 5/18/2011

    " I honestly did not think that a book about orchids would be this intriguing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 5/18/2011

    " I was very surprised by how much I learned from this book without my realizing it. Who knew that the orchid world was so dramatic? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 4/17/2011

    " Nobody does Florida quite like Susan Orlean. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenn | 4/13/2011

    " As to be expected, this book taught me a lot about orchids. I went out and purchased an orchid after finishing it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 William | 4/6/2011

    " Although some of her long-winded paragraphs drove me mad, this was a generally interesting piece of non-fiction.

    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 3/31/2011

    " One of my favourite books, although it is a little light on story. A fascinating read full of flow. I do, however, love orchids, so I may be biased. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 3/4/2011

    " This is a fascinating story about one of the many fringe hobbyists and eccentrics one rarely hears about or crosses paths with in communities across the world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 2/26/2011

    " I picked this book for my book club to read, and still get ribbed about it to this day. I rather enjoyed it. The book was certainly far superior to its movie, Adaptation, even though the movie did win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Chris Cooper, who deserved it for so many other roles. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 M | 2/19/2011

    " While I continued to turn the pages and found this book pretty engrossing, I didn't love it. I really didn't like any of the characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindsey | 2/13/2011

    " Excellent writing and a fascinating story. Some of my favorite books are those about little-known things such as salt, cod, orchids--that reach out and affect or participate in history in ways you wouldn't expect. "

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About the Author
Author Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in upstate New York.

About the Narrator

Kate Fleming (a.k.a. Anna Fields) (1965–2006), winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award in 2004, was one of the most respected narrators in the industry. Trained at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, she was also a director, producer, and technician at her own studio, Cedar House Audio.