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The Orchard by Drusilla Modjeska
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The Orchard

by Drusilla Modjeska

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The Orchard is a first person narrative about a group of women of varying ages with artist biography and an Eastern European legend thrown in. Reading the first two-thirds of it is painful. There's no clarity or structure and the narrative style is cloying. There are a few good feminist points but it mostly comes across as airy-fairy drivel like an advertisement for self-fulfillment through crystal-healing and astral travel.

Critics have noted the blending of fiction and reality. Unfortunately, this doesn't work in the book's favour. Yet Modjeska is a skilled storyteller. The last part of The Orchard is a memoir of days spent in an English girls boarding school and it's good. Too bad you have to wade through so much crap to get to it. ( )
1 vote skullstuffing | Sep 28, 2008 |
This is a beautifully written, wise and complex book. I read it with my Book Club last year, and then went out and bought my own copy - it will be one of the few books that I shall read a second time. Truly unique, she interweaves fact with fiction, essays with storytelling, biography with intellectual and feminist theory. Covering areas such as identity, adultery, solitude, education and autonomy, it is not an easy read; but definitely worth the effort. ( )
  crimson-tide | Sep 6, 2008 |
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Epigraph
The wound and the eye are one and the same. James Hillman
'I' is only a convenient term for somebody who has no real being. Virginia Woolf
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Ettie is famous for her neck.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The stories included in this volume are meditations on adultery, girlhood, blindness, solitude, complicity and the choices women make. Through them the author examines the questions of being both a creative soul and a woman.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330356550, Paperback)

"A beautifully written narrative, turning on the stories of four women at different ages, and through their self-analysis, the story of many more."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Adultery, sight and the fear of blindness; hands, girlhood, paintings and gardens - these images and memories float moodily together, as much fiction as fact, telling the stories of the women that inhabit this narrative. The women, from the fifteenth century to the present, reveal their universal struggle to attain independance and fulfilment, in worlds of real and imagined danger.… (more)

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