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Posted February 12, 2009
Hit or Miss
I read this, McCarthy's first novel, after No Country For Old Men, The Road, Blood Meridian, Child of God, and Outer Dark, and I think it suffers by comparison. <BR/><BR/>The writing isn't as honed as his other novels. Though there is one passage in the end that made me love the book. It's a real glimpse at the true beauty of McCarthy's mind. <BR/><BR/>The Orchard Keeper is not a bad book by any standard, it's just not his best, as it is his first. <BR/><BR/>The novel and its three main characters move sluggishly through their world and their lives. At some points it will grab you with a sentence or a passage. But there are also long draughts of well written nothing. Landscape descriptions, while well worded, get old. I know he is describing what no longer exists, and maybe when I read it at a different time in my life I'll be able to appreciate it more, but as of now it is just too all over the place at times to really stick in my mind.<BR/><BR/>There is humor and the omnipresent sense of foreboding that permeates in every McCarthy story. If you are a McCarthy fan such as myself, then definitely check this one out for you own perspective.<BR/><BR/>I think I liked it more than No Country For Old Men, but only for the writing. The Orchard Keeper has no identifiable pace or plot, and it is very easy to get lost at times. I don't have a problem with the no plot thing, or even the no pace thing. They work fine if done well. And while The Orchard Keeper is a precursor to McCarthy's true talent, it is also his flaws clawing at you the entire way through.<BR/><BR/>All said, it's still better than ninety percent of the books published today.
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