My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This amazing book caught my interest with the first paragraph, and that without the ‘in medias res’ beginning. Oh there was back story, but the actual plot began in Chapter 1 with two girls stealing fruit.
The pace is leisurely for the first two thirds, then speeds up, the style descriptive and immediate. There were few characters, though towns and other activities were implied. The characters were well developed with flaws and virtues–all but one, who had no redeeming qualities.
Much of the book was about ideas never stated (the Orchardist himself, Jane and Della, sometimes Caroline Middey, though she was the most likely to speak) or about inability to speak (Clee). Angeline was more the one who wanted to know than one not communicating. Each had their own type of isolation, though there were also relationships.
The novel deals with aging, birth, the growing up of children, and the diminished abilities of the elderly, always matter of factly, sometimes understated. Never heavy handed philosophizing.
This is a rare book that remains excellent through the ending. (view spoiler)