The Death of the Orange Trees [NOOK Book]


In celebration of Claire’s 88th birthday, the 50th anniversary edition of Claire’s first novel, The Death of the Orange Trees, and her latest novella, Ernestine, are being made available for download by NYCreative Publishing.

When it was originally published in 1963, LIFE magazine called The Death of the Orange Trees an “American Cherry Orchard.” It is a short novel dealing ...
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The Death of the Orange Trees

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In celebration of Claire’s 88th birthday, the 50th anniversary edition of Claire’s first novel, The Death of the Orange Trees, and her latest novella, Ernestine, are being made available for download by NYCreative Publishing.

When it was originally published in 1963, LIFE magazine called The Death of the Orange Trees an “American Cherry Orchard.” It is a short novel dealing with two families forced to come to terms with the real life of the present.

The Gerrishes are an old New England family keeping up an elegant style of life in Connecticut, too lavish for their means. Symbolizing their obeisance to a bygone time are their orange trees which must be relocated twice a year because of the unsuitable climate. Their only married daughter, Maria, lives with her painter husband, Paul, and their six children in the caretaker’s cottage and the life of her own family is not lived according standards of the Gerrishes. Maria’s problem is one of divided loyalties; she really can’t decide where she belongs—with the family that created her or with the family she created—and this dichotomy carries over into the lives of her children.

“I congratulate Claire Nicolas on the successful working-out of an ambitious theme. So many first novels these days are narrow and too personal that it is a relief to find a new author attempting to design on a big canvas”

Daphne Du Maurier, from the 1963 edition

In the novel’s original publication, Claire was asked to remove her married name from the novel because it was inspired by the Stanford White’s family. This is the first time the book is being released under her own name.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940148532712
  • Publisher: NY Creative Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/31/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 688 KB

Meet the Author

Claire Nicolas White is a poet, translator, playwright, and the author of a novel, a memoir and three non-fiction books about members of her family. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including the New Yorker, the Partisan Review, the Paris Review, the Hudson Review, Grand Street, Atlantic Monthly and Commonweal.

Claire was born in 1925 in Groet, in the north of Holland. Her father, Joep Nicolas, was a Dutch stained glass painter; her mother, Suzanne Nys, a Belgian sculptress. She went to convent schools in Limburg, then for a year to the École Alsacienne in Paris. With the German invasion imminent her family came to the United States, arriving in Manhattan in 1940. There she attended the Lycée Français, from which she graduated in 1943. She finished her studies as an English major at Smith college. She had a short story and a poem published in Junior Harper’s Bazaar and published a bilingual journal, called Marsyas, which was featured in the magazine. She also translated a memoir by a young French girl, written during the war, for Pantheon Books.

Claire continued to write poems and articles for Vogue and Harper’s, and published a novel, The Death of the Orange Trees (Harper and Rowe, 1963), and Biography and Other Poems (Doubleday, 1981). On Long Island Claire taught dancing and French, and wrote several plays for the Women’s Theatre Repertory. Later she taught poetry and memoir workshops to senior citizens for TAPROOT as well as at the Walt Whitman House, C.W. Post, Long Island University and Stony Brook University.

Over the years she continued to spend time in Holland, composing a book about her father’s work (Joep Nicolas: His Life and Work; Van Spijk, 1979). She also translated three novels from the Dutch and edited a Dutch issue of Columbia University’s Translation magazine, as well as translating French poetry such as Alfred de Musset’s La Nuit de Mai.

Her collection Biography and Other Poems was published by Doubleday in 1981, her memoir, Fragments of Stained Glass by Mercury House in 1989, and The Elephant and the Rose: a Family History in 2003 by Vineyard Press. She edited Stanford White: Letters to his Family for Rizzoli in 1997, and published a book about her late husband’s work (Robert White, Sculptor; Waterline) in 2006. She has been the editor of Oberon magazine for ten years.
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