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The Orchard: A Novel Audio CD – Unabridged, 17 November 2020
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"David Hopen's riveting debut joins the urgency of a thriller with the devastating consequence of a spiritual crisis for its hero, who is no less imperiled by his religion than by the threat of its loss. In Ari Eden's story the clash between youth and experience, godlessness and piety, individualism and conformity, will feel both devastatingly familiar and utterly new. The Orchard throws open the doors to this world, and introduces a major new voice."-- "Susan Choi, National Book Award-winning author"
About the Author
David Hopen is from Hollywood, Florida. He graduated from Yale College and earned his masters degree from the University of Oxford. The Orchard is his debut novel.
- Publisher : HarperCollins B and Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (17 November 2020)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1799945545
- ISBN-13 : 978-1799945543
- Dimensions : 15.88 x 5.08 x 14.61 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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1. The story makes no sense. Dozens of plot points are never explained or paid off. Just meandering meaningless nonsense.
2. I live in both of the worlds this author is trying write about. Both are horribly inaccurate and more importantly implausible. Yes it is fiction but it should be listed under fantasy. Star student athlete and top students getting drunk and high every day? Yeshiva kid fitting into extremely academic Modern Orthodox school miraculously in 12th grade? No family is dumb enough to put their sheltered 12th grader into an Ivy League prep school. And any school with students this disturbed would have them talk to a school psychologist. I could go on...
3. The characters are extraordinarily flat. No growth. No change. No explanation for their bizarre behavior and actions. Boys talk philosophy. Girls look pretty or are nerdy tutors. Characters make terrible choices that are not justified or earned by the narrative. Terrible things happen to characters for no reason. Complete mess.
4. Honestly, this book seems to have been written so that the author could show off his admittedly vast philosophy background. There is literally no other purpose to these sections of the book. Also they are incredibly dense and not really very understandable.
5. As weird at it might be for a Law Student author to have an unhealthy obsession with philosophy it buggers disbelief to imagine 5 alcoholic pothead boys sitting with a rabbi and discussing advanced philosophy like they are talking about the latest Marvel or Star Wars film.
6. There is no real conflict or resolution in the book. There are many potential conflicts and areas for tension but they are all left to wither and die before they can even begin rising action.
7. The writing is weird. Hebrew words (which I know well) being transliterated inconsistently, kids using Yiddish and Hebrew expressions that no one ever uses, and random fancy English words that add nothing.
8. Honestly, this book is so bad it is actually a work of art as a depiction of pretentious preening putrid published prose.
9. The fact that anyone, let alone The NY Times and the Jewish Book Review, could read this book and think it is good makes absolutely no sense. Impossible to explain. This is not a matter of taste. It’s a matter or competency.
I wanted a character to love, but, in my opinion, the author has to love their characters for me to love them and it didn't seem to me that Hopen loved any of them. I felt only disdain.
Mysticism is dangerous, as the Hagigah 14b story relates. Mysticism wedded to wealth, power and privilege is a recipe for disaster--as the novel makes plain.
I believe the purpose of life is 'aliveness' ('elasa' in my birth-language). "Aliveness" is neither great nor grandiose. An orchard is alive but it's not divine or secular but gentle and fruitful. "The Orchard" was not alive, not in that sense. I looked for a single character that evoked 'aliveness' but . . . found no Rabbi Akiba anywhere.
In a word, The Orchard is spectacular