The Family Orchard

by Nomi Eve

Book, 2001



Call number




New York : Vintage International, 2001.


A beautifully crafted story of a Jewish family, reaching back five generations. Using births, deaths and family legends, here are stories of how people meet and fall in love, of family secrets and tragedies, of sex and marriage. Yochanan and his wife Esther who lived happily despite Esther's long-time affair with the local baker; Avra who has a penchant for stealing (and returning) who marries Shimon, an immigrant from Russia; Miriam, a child of Eastern Europe who sews her family's futures into her cloth. Shyly sexy and funny, always rooted in the domestic and the familiar, this is an enchanting, complex novel which draws on the voices of many generations from far and wide, reaching across the Diaspora - Israel, Europe and America.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Polaris-
Where to begin? I had this book on my shelf for ages - years in fact. Something led me to take it off the shelf and start it a few weeks back... Maybe because I have been reading other books at the same time, I found the opening chapters took a while to get into. I soon got into my stride though,
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and found myself really enjoying Nomi Eve's writing.

Her characters were so real and interesting. Their flaws and foibles making them very intriguing personalities. This is a book about family and place. The story covers the generations of the Sepher family from their arrival in Jerusalem in the mid-19th century through to their moving to a small agricultural community near the citrus groves around Petah Tiqva. The family orchard of the title is the livelihood and home that Shimon Sepher makes for his family in the early 20th century, a time when Palestine was changing rapidly as the Zionist pioneers move to their promised land. The orchard would in time pass to son and then grandson.

The historical setting for this generational novel is the background plot as the dramatic national events through the years manifest themselves on an intimate scale. The orchard is of course the central character in the story and witnesses the key moments in our protagonists' lives. Eve writes with a really lovely feeling full of poignancy and poetry - but never going overboard with it. I particularly loved the detail of the orchard's life cycle and the different seasons that would pass, it helped give the story a nice rhythm. Overall I enjoyed it very much.
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LibraryThing member sparemethecensor
Never pulled me in. I loved the attention to historical detail coupled with tongue-in-cheek commentary, but none of the characters really grabbed me, and for the interesting ones, the stories were over far too soon. There is a lot of gratuitous sex, especially in the beginning, which I didn't think
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added to the storyline over the generations. This reads as an obvious first novel: some hits and misses, but overall falling short. I might read more from the author as she refines her writing style.
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LibraryThing member nancynova
I didn't like The Red Tent - and this novel was compared to it. So I don't know why I bought this one. Gave up after the first few pages.

Original publication date



0375724575 / 9780375724572

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