By Larry Watson
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780375758546, 256pp.)
Publication Date: June 8, 2004
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From the bestselling author of Montana 1948 comes the explosive story of an artist, his muse, and the staggering price they pay for their chance at immortality.
Sonja Skordahl, a Norwegian immigrant, came to America looking for a new life. Instead, she settled in Door County, Wisconsin, and married Henry House—only to find herself defined by her roles as wife and mother. Destiny lands Sonja in the studio of Ned Weaver, an internationally acclaimed painter. There she becomes more than his model and more than a mere object of desire; she becomes the most inspiring muse Ned has ever known, much to the chagrin of the artist’s wife. When both Ned and Henry insist on possessing Sonja, their jealousies threaten to erupt into violence—as she struggles to appease both men without sacrificing her hard-won sense of self.
Larry Watson is the author of In a Dark Time, Montana 1948, Justice, White Crosses, and Laura. He has won the Milkweed Fiction Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association Regional Award, and many other literary prizes. Watson and his wife, Susan, live in Plover, Wisconsin.
“This book will leave you illuminated. . . . If there exists a literary equivalent to the artist’s play of light on a canvas, then Larry Watson has mastered it. . . . Every scene of Orchard is painted with deliberate, vivid strokes of radiance. . . . Watson’s sparse words and controlled prose turn a remote town and four lonely characters into a remarkable tale.”
“Clear-eyed, close-to-the-bone, inherently dramatic and endlessly implicative . . . Watson’s insights into his characters not only bring them to life, but also shed light on the nature of art, love and marriage.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“An enthralling, thought-provoking read . . . This is a story that comes together at its own internal pace, and when whole understanding dawns, it is with clear power.”
—The Denver Post
“[A] powerful tale . . . captivating and haunting, and very hard to put down.”
—The Washington Post Book World