The Orchid Thief: A True Story Of Beauty And Obsession (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
On Sale: January 4, 2000
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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
From Florida's swamps to its
courtrooms, the New Yorker writer follows one deeply
eccentric and oddly attractive man's possibly criminal
pursuit of an endangered flower. Determined to clone the
rare ghost orchid, Polyrrhiza lindenii, John Laroche leads
Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America's strange
flower-selling subculture, along with the Seminole Indians
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.
Praise for The Orchid
"Fascinating . . . tales of theft,
hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing . . . an
"Irresistible . . . a brilliantly reported
account of an illicit scheme to housebreak Florida's wild
and endangered ghost orchid . . . Its central figure is John
Laroche, the ‘oddball ultimate' of a subculture whose
members are so enthralled by orchids they ‘pursue them
like lovers.' "
"Artful . . . in Ms. Orlean's skillful
handling, her orchid story turns out to be distinctly
‘something more.' . . . [Her] portrait of her
sometimes sad-making orchid thief allows the reader to
discover acres of opportunity where intriguing things can be
–The New York Times
. . . a swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates
some virtues that made America great."
"Deliciously weird . . .
–Detroit Free Press
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