The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (Google eBook)

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Random House Publishing Group, Jul 20, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
489 Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
 
A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower—the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii—a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, through Florida’s swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean—and the reader—will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion.
 
In this new edition, coming fifteen years after its initial publication and twenty years after she first met the “orchid thief,” Orlean revisits this unforgettable world, and the route by which it was brought to the screen in the film Adaptation, in a new retrospective essay.

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Praise for The Orchid Thief
 
“Stylishly written, whimsical yet sophisticated, quirkily detailed and full of empathy . . . The Orchid Thief shows [Orlean’s] gifts in full bloom.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“Fascinating . . . an engrossing journey [full] of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing.”Los Angeles Times
 
“Orlean’s snapshot-vivid, pitch-perfect prose . . . is fast becoming one of our national treasures.”The Washington Post Book World
 
“Orlean’s gifts [are] her ear for the self-skewing dialogue, her eye for the incongruous, convincing detail, and her Didion-like deftness in description.”Boston Sunday Globe
 
“A swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great.”The Wall Street Journal


From the Trade Paperback edition.
  

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5 stars
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Beautiful non-fiction prose. - Goodreads
This book was really hard to read. - Goodreads
A most outstanding non-fiction writer. - Goodreads
My only gripe was that there were no pictures. - Goodreads
Great piece of nonfiction writing. - Goodreads
Great material, crumbled in the hands of this writer. - Goodreads

Review: The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession

User Review  - Mad Leon - Goodreads

Love the book. As a naturalist and botanist I generally tire of detailed accounts of plant lore, but this was thoroughly engaging. I especially enjoyed the historical sections woven into the plot. If ... Read full review

Review: The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession

User Review  - Therese - Goodreads

Non-fiction. I read this for the non-fiction book club at my local library (February 2014). Let me start by saying this is nothing like the movie "Adaptation" which was supposedly based on this book ... Read full review

Contents

The Millionaires Hothouse
3
Cloning the Ghost
20
A Green Hell
34
A Mortal Occupation
55
Gorgeous
86
The Good Life
103
Anyone Can Grow Orchids
134
Plant Crimes
153
Barbecued Doves
184
Osceolas Head
203
Fortunes
244
A Kind of Direction
279
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992 and has also written for Outside, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Vogue. She graduated from the University of Michigan and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She now lives in Los Angeles and upstate New York with her husband and son.


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