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Il guardiano del frutteto

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  5,895 Ratings  ·  456 Reviews
Tre uomini (il vecchio Zio Ather, il giovane Sylder che contrabbanda liquori e il ragazzino John), sono i protagonisti di una vicenda che ruota attorno a un cadavere, quello del padre di John, ucciso da Sylder e vegliato da Ather in un orto fra le montagne del Tennessee. Ma in un'agghiacciante commedia degli errori nessuno dei tre ha davvero compreso l'identità dell'altro.
Hardcover, Supercoralli, 229 pages
Published 2002 by Einaudi (first published 1965)
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The Orchard Keeper: Cormac McCarthy's first novel of a Southern Quartet

The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy was selected by Tom "Big Daddy" Mathews as the Moderator's Choice for Members of On the Southern Literary Trail for January, 2016.

First Edition, Random House, New York, New York, 1965

 photo OrchardKeeper DJ 1965_zpsxfwsfleg.jpg
Cormac McCarthy, Dust Jacket Photo, "The Orchard Keeper"

Them that's got shall get
Them that's not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have Papa may have
But God bless the child that'
Jun 10, 2013 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
"They are gone now. Fled, banished in death or exile, lost, undone. Over the land sun and wind still move to burn and sway the trees, the grasses. No avatar, no scion, no vestige of that people remains. On the lips of the strange race that now dwells there their names are myth, legend, dust."
-- Cormac McCarthy, The Orchard Keeper


McCarthy is at a natural disadvantage when an obsessive reader finally works back to his first book. Invariably, McCarthy will be unfairly graded against his own amazin
Mike Puma
Aug 23, 2010 Mike Puma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Face it GoodReaders—Cormac McCarthy isn’t for everyone. I doubt it was ever his intention. He doesn’t write for the casual reader, or even the avid reader. I think he writes primarily for himself, and gets rather a kick out of those of us who follow his every word and enjoy it for what it is. Like any artist, he creates a work, makes it available to a public, and moves on. He’s seemingly uninterested in what people think of his work, or in discussing his work, or its popularity. Reception to his

Diane Barnes
Dec 25, 2015 Diane Barnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a McCarthy fan, having read 1 of his books (All the Pretty Horses), and putting aside another (Suttree) after just a few chapters. His vision is bleak and depressing, and his themes seem to run to "live, suffer and die".

But,oh my God, this was a good book!

The lyrical language and description of nature pulled me in. The dialogue of the isolated, uneducated, Tennessee mountain people kept me there. The rough characters who found a way to survive by any means kept me rooting for them, eve
Jul 11, 2007 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone pining for appalachia
Blame it on Faulkner. You can't write a novel nowadays about the South—good country people, grotesque deviants, backwoods hollers, and wide, copper-colored rivers—without being labeled Faulkner-esque, your work derivative of Faulkner, your themes and language descended from a rich Faulknerian lineage. It's some wonder more southern writers aren't trying to flee from under daddy F's looming shadow, the evoked comparison being just as much of a complaint half the time as it is a compliment. Yet I ...more
May 05, 2016 Cody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hillbilly-bats
Color rating: Mauve

There are a lot of reviews that mention the difference between this and McCarthy’s later work. It’s undeniably true that this is a tonal anomaly; the cadence is yet to be developed, the trademark dialogue is almost entirely absent along with the heavy religiosity. Hell, even the flora gets short shrift. All things considered, however, The Orchard Keeper is a fine first novel that demonstrates pure ambition, a deftness of language in the upper one-percentile, and…I just don’t
Evan Leach
img: Appalachia

On the list of best books I’ve ever read, Blood Meridian would be near the top (if you put the proverbial gun to my head, I’d probably put it at the top). However, I’d only read two of McCarthy’s novels before this year: Blood Meridian and The Road. One of my personal goals for 2016 is to take a deep dive into McCarthy’s back catalog. I started at the beginning with The Orchard Keeper, McCarthy’s first published novel.

The story centers around three characters living in the 1930’s: a young boy, a
Tom Mathews
Dec 30, 2015 Tom Mathews rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of Southern gothic literature
Forgive me if I borrow liberally from a review found in a blog written several years ago by Mookse and Gripes. The first paragraph matches my sentiments almost exactly. As with M&G, this is my seventh Cormac McCarthy novel and, like them,
this was his most difficult yet, perhaps because much of the time I didn’t really feel like I knew what was going on and didn’t entirely trust that the obfuscation was with valid purpose. More than any other McCarthy novel, I had to work very hard to follow
Sep 03, 2015 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
When reading a McCarthy book, you already know what you're going to get: an obscure and erudite vocabulary full of comprehensive description; from the height of a tree, to the striations on the leaves, nothing left to ponder.

McCarthy is more about quality over quantity, yet the reader yearns for more. With it being his first novel, it displays much talent and what would eventually become an amazing literary career.

Probably a great starting point for anyone venturing out into one of his back-wood
Wayne Barrett

It was never my intention to do it this way but up to this point I've read all of McCarthy's books except this one. So it happens that the last of his novels I've read is the first he wrote. Because of that, it is difficult to rate this one. I can still sense the greatness of his unique style, but because I have read his following masterpieces, they are naturally what I use as a measuring stick for his work and "The Orchard Keeper" just doesn't hold up to any of his later work.

There is a part o
Aug 04, 2010 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little worried going into this book because it is very common for a writer’s first novel to not be a good representation of that person’s entire body of work. This is often true with even the writers who go on to be canonized legends, as more often than not it takes them about two or three books to really get their literary sea legs.

While The Orchard Keeper isn’t quite at the level of Blood Meridian or Suttree, I’m still convinced that Cormac McCarthy sprang from the womb clutching a po
Jan 16, 2010 Szplug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly intriguing and beautifully depicted but ultimately unsatisfying debut from McCarthy which arrived draped in keen, vibrant colours, with lush, fragrant descriptions of the gorgeous Tennessee landscape, earthy watercolour portraits of its taciturn characters, and the leisured pace of an Appalachian highway that tunnels through the overhanging, rainbow-spiked autumnal woods, emerging every now and then, sun-dappled and redolent of honey and cider, into the fresh breezes of open space—and ye ...more
Feb 18, 2008 Tamara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's no question McCarthy is a brilliant prose writer. There are times when I stop in reading to marvel at his stunning verbal combinations. However the subject matter of this book just didn't appeal to me and I found the density of description overwhelming to the plot and actual characters. I knew exactly what everything looked like, smelled like, moved like, sounded like, etc, but for a good chunk of it i wouldn't have been able to tell you what was actually going on and how it related to a ...more
Abram Dorrough
Mar 10, 2017 Abram Dorrough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how this book makes me envy McCarthy's literary genius more than ever before. This cannot be a first novel. "The Orchard Keeper" is too well developed to have been a first finished effort.

McCarthy must have half a dozen other initial attempts cached away in a desk drawer somewhere - rough drafts that nobody has ever seen. Assuming this book actually is his first book - which it unbelievably is - McCarthy certainly established his inimitable voice and style from the get-go. I'm quite astonish
Jan 14, 2016 FrankH rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Club Read: On the Southern Literary Trail

By the time he left the road and entered the woods they were coming down, the dead and leafless trunks, grasping with brittle gray fingers and going prone on the earth with muffled thunder of their fall half lost in the fulminations overhead. The old man kept to his course, over last year's leaves slick with water, hopping and dancing wildly among the maelstrom of riotous greenery like some rain sprite, burned out of near-darkness in antic configuration a
Dec 05, 2008 Abailart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
McCarthy's fisrt novel, the third of his I have read. All the signs are there! Writing without borders, dimensional shifts, thick, dreamlike. The Old Testament prophetic tone, the lyrical imagery as if somehow nature is expressing itself, and somehow too the sense that in each filmic detail, each auditory beat, you've been there to know it. Of people who were not very much in a sort of boggy, muddy, place that wasn't too much - like rubbish, always there, always, but never lasting - noticed, rem ...more
Apr 26, 2012 JBedient rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't believe in beach books, or airplane books, or the like, when I read I like to be challenged a little, but I have to admit this book was quite a difficult and complex read for me - perhaps too challenging in parts. I found myself rereading certain passages (sometimes because they were stunningly beautiful), restarting chapters, and flipping back a few pages because what I had just read was a blur in my mind. The way the narrative is presented here is a little disorientating and I think an ...more
Oct 22, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Orchard Keeper was Cormac McCarthy's first book, originally published back in 1965. It was interesting reading this one closely after reading his most recent book, The Road.

(I read a very early copy of the book, with the original blurbs on the jacket. Random House was very sure of the book's popularity and importance, enough so to suggest McCarthy was a writer who would inevitably be recognized as a master at some point. They clearly had no idea it would take about 30 years for him to start
Dillwynia Peter
Jan 05, 2016 Dillwynia Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are new to McCarthy, this isn't the one to start reading - go try All the Pretty Horses or No Country for Old Men - because being his 1st there are a few problems & I suspect most people will be turned away. I am a big fan of McCarthy & I almost gave up in those 1st 30-50 pages. I'll explain why: the beginning is written in the style of someone copying Faulkner. It also happens to be impenetrable (a number of times I would need to re-read a page to find out what was happening/ bei ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Ginny_1807 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzi, america
Sorprendente romanzo di esordio, nel quale trovano già espressione le principali tematiche che costituiranno il nucleo portante delle opere più mature di questo magnifico scrittore.
È un libro aspro, percorso da una violenza strisciante, insidiosa e inarrestabile, una storia di equivoci e di segreti, di maturazione e di lealtà, di solitudine e di disincanto.
I protagonisti non sono eroi, ma individui che lottano per l’esistenza, un’esistenza che non regala nulla, ma piuttosto toglie, crudelmente
Feb 13, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
Mr. McCarthy, sir, you are taking over my life. Even the music I'm listening to...I can't get enough of that slide guitar twang. I've fallen for those outlaw country bands (even the new guys like Tim Barry or Ben Nichols). And once again, sir, you did not let me down with your first novel the Orchard Keeper.

Sure, it was a little confusing with the shifting narration, denoted with italics, that sometimes takes place in the middle of a conversation. I sometimes wasn't quite sure whom nor when thes
Jan 05, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Diane I picked this one off the night table and gave it a read. After Blood Meridian I about had my fill of Cormac McCarthy.

I liked everything about this book. The italicized sections seemed to be coming from each of the three main characters adding a slightly skewed perspective to the action at hand. I appreciated how the story was a collection of antidotes rather than a plot driven sledge hammer.

Frank has a terrific set of thoughts.
Oct 02, 2007 Sundry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses, so decided to start with his first novel and work my way forward. Aarg. This was the only book I had easy access to on the plane to Indiana or I wouldn’t have gotten halfway through it.

I am a pretty astute reader, I think, but I couldn’t keep track of the characters and couldn’t find anyone or thing that I liked enough to keep going. Too bad.
Jun 17, 2012 Aprile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
leggere Cormac per me è come aprire gli occhi su un mondo che non ho mai preso in considerazione, ogni pagina mi accresce perchè sento il travaglio dell'autore che ha poi portato a quella creazione, e il risultato è così maturo e definitivo, quasi un dato di fatto, nulla si può obiettare alla definizione così precisa e non pedante delle varie personalità, solo il fatto che nulla è facile, ma così è la vita
Jan 09, 2016 Suzy marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzy by: On the Southern Literary Trail Jan 2016 Group Read
Occasionally lyrical, mostly overwrought, I couldn't figure out what was going on. The writing got in the way of understanding for me as if McCarthy was trying too hard to be poetic. This is his first book; it is my first McCarthy. Would I have stuck with it if I had read something else by him? What I know is that I put it down after about 60 pages, deciding it was not for me.
Dec 01, 2010 Merilee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What beautifully luminescent writing to impend with doom. McCarthy writes like an angel to describe a hell of Prohibition-era mountain-country Tennessee. I want to read everything he's written! So far I had only read The Road, whose writing I could well appreciate, but, as those who know me know, I don't like post-apocalyptic narratives.
Dec 14, 2010 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wheee! I finally finished this book! Which means that I've only started. Now I have a ton of questions... obviously I'll need to do several re-reads. I'm sorry now that I waited so long to read it... I really, truly wasn't interested in reading it at all at first. It really is a fast read, and I might have had time to do an immediate second reading before feeling threatened by my (teetering) to-be-read pile--or at least a closer read (though I don't know that I was ready for a closer read the fi ...more
James Murphy
Aug 25, 2011 James Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What you most notice about Cormac McCarthy's writing is how beautifully he writes. Not long ago I read a critical essay singing the values of more declarative sentences and less ornate description to create a simpler, more beautiful prose. McCarthy, though he writes declarative sentences, was one of those singled out as an example of someone who writes poorly. His fictional style, it was said, is too muscular and therefore so extravagantly expressed that it distracts from the story and character ...more
While reading this book I had to constantly remind myself that everyone has to start somewhere. I admire McCarthy in many ways, having read three of his publications and bits and pieces of most everything else. But if I were to give the reader a disclaimer it is: Everyone must start somewhere.

The novel centers around three independent characters all living in the same rural Tennessee hill community. It's filled with elegaic descriptions of nature, concrete actions of the characters and a delibe
As a lot of people have noticed, this partakes very heavily of the southern literary tradition. It IS a Faulknerian book, but you sort of have to cede those comparisons by default because, as his first published work, it isn't yet fully representative of the rich, dark style he really makes his own a few novels later. But even an OK Mccarthy novel is often descriptively gorgeous enough to make you not care too much. And you can definitely see flashes here of what he would go on to develop in Blo ...more
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On the Southern L...: January 2016: The Orchard Keeper, by Cormac McCarthy 87 75 Feb 17, 2016 08:18AM  
On the Southern L...: Running up a hill with Southern Agrarians 21 51 Oct 09, 2012 10:56AM  
the old mans wife 2 67 May 08, 2012 05:10AM  
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Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels in the Southern Gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres and has also written plays and screenplays. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road, and his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

His earlier Blood M
More about Cormac McCarthy...

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“They are gone now. Fled, banished in death or exile, lost, undone. Over the land sun and wind still move to burn and sway the trees, the grasses. No avatar, no scion, no vestige of that people remains. On the lips of the strange race that now dwells there their names are myth, legend, dust.” 9 likes
“Toward early morning he woke, sat up quickly and looked about him. It was still dark and the fire had long since died, still dark and quiet with that silence that seems to be of itself listening, an astral quiet where planets collide soundlessly, beyond the auricular dimension altogether. He listened. Above the black ranks of trees the mid-summer sky arched cloudless and coldly starred. He lay back and stared at it and after a while he slept.” 7 likes
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