The Orchard Keeper

Cormac McCarthy

01 January 2010
272 pages


Set in rural Tennessee between the world wars, The Orchard Keeper is the unique, darkly biblical debut novel from the legendary author of Blood Meridian and The Road, Cormac McCarthy.

'McCarthy has the best kind of Southern style' – New York Times

John Wesley Rattner is a young boy when his father is murdered. Marion Sylder, an outlaw and bootlegger, strangled him to death.

By chance, John and Marion will meet. They will not recognise each other; John will not know what this man has done.

An experimental debut following in the footsteps of William Faulkner, this is a magnificent conjuring of an American landscape – and a devastating portrayal of innocence lost.

'A complicated and evocative exposition of the transience of life' – Harper’s

Praise for Cormac McCarthy:

‘McCarthy worked close to some religious impulse, his books were terrifying and absolute’ – Anne Enright, author of The Green Road and The Wren, The Wren

'His prose takes on an almost biblical quality, hallucinatory in its effect and evangelical in its power' – Stephen King, author of The Shining and the Dark Tower series

'[I]n presenting the darker human impulses in his rich prose, [McCarthy] showed readers the necessity of facing up to existence' – Annie Proulx, author of Brokeback Mountain

Mr McCarthy has the best kind of Southern style, one that fuses risky eloquence, intricate rhythms and dead-to-rights accuracy
The feeling for the land and seasons is so intense as to be part of the story and there are scenes one will never forget . . . A complicated and evocative exposition of the transience of life.
A true American original.