At the turn of the 20th century in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones.
A gentle man, he's
found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he
grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he
One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his
fruit from the market and later return to the outskirts of his
orchard to see the man who gave them no chase.
Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadage's land and indulge in his
deep reservoir of compassion.
Just as the girls begin to trust him, men arrive in the orchard with guns, and the shattering tragedy that follows will set Talmadge
on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect but to reconcile the ghosts of his
own troubled past.
1. How would you describe William Talmadge
, the title character of The Orchardist ? What adjective best describes his
What are the factors that have shaped the man he
2. Though he
is mostly alone, Talmadge
has two good friends, the herbalist Caroline Middey and the Indian horse catcher Clee, What draws these three people together?
3. When Talmadge
first meets the young sisters, Della and Jane, they are stealing his
Why isn't he
angry with them?
Why does he
want to help them?
What does he
see in them that others might not?
What was the root of Talmadge's
Why can love be simultaneously wondrous and terrifying?
8. Is there anything Talmadge
could have-should have-done to keep Della with him and Angelene in the orchard?
10. Could you live as Talmadge
Do you think he
insists that Della should return to the Orchard for Angelene.
Does Angelene even want her
agree with your assessment?