The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Jul 20, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
6 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.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
 
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
2
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
0

The orchid thief

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The thief in question and offbeat genesis for New Yorker writer Orlean's book is ever-quotable eccentric John Laroche, whose craving for the rare orchid eventually lands him and three Indian ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Matt Margo - Goodreads

"The Orchid Thief"... It sounds like either the most laughable true-crime thriller ever written or the most melodramatic novel ever selected by Oprah's Book Club. This story contains no dastardly ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

References to this book

All Book Search results »

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information