Read "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get £3 off your first download. Susan Orlean first met John Laroche. Read "The Orchid Thief A True Story of Beauty and Obsession" by Susan Orlean available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. Editorial Reviews. ruthenpress.info Review. Orchidelirium is the name the Victorians gave to the Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Science & Math.
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean's. About Books Free eBooks The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean: none Creator: Susan Orlean Best Sellers Rank: #5 Paid in Kindle Store Link. The Orchid Thief is a non-fiction book by American journalist and author Susan Orlean, based on her investigation of the arrest of John Laroche and .
What is your ultimate estimation of his parasitic pursuits? I think his whole episode in pornography was very telling. If people were foolish enough to come to him and offer him lots of money to post naked pictures of themselves on the web, he felt that his mission in life would be to charge them as much as possible. This was the question that dogged me throughout my reporting. There were certainly moments when I thought: Yet, there was a certain strange logic in this greediness.
He had discovered a law that was so badly written that he could abuse it and take advantage [of it]. I also think it was a way for him to justify his own ends which were fairly simple: But he would not have wanted to do it had there not been an interesting complexity to it.
And it is probably something to do with needing attention. John Laroche shares with so many Americans a "lotto" mentality of getting rich quick. But not every get-rich-quick scheme ignites the same degree of passion in him. Like Don Quixote, he is the ultimate loser. I think noble would dignify it too much. I think he has a grand self-image. It would be enough for an ordinary person to get rich with something unspectacular like lawn grass. But Laroche has a vision of himself as something larger than life.
He is a loser if you compare him to normal standards of success. In his own mind he is not a loser because he really is living the life he wants to lead. You paint Florida as the ultimate America, the land of plenty, and yet one gets the strong sense that you find its profuseness more than just a little vulgar. Did you retain a sense of remaining a distinct and separate being, or were you ever in danger of becoming part of the exotic blur? I will forever be an outsider to Florida.
I am not a hot weather person. On the other hand I think I am a person who is typical of Florida. I came down there to find my own fortune. Like so many people I came to Florida with a scheme in mind: I wanted to write this book about this peculiar event that had taken place.
But my connection was impermanent. It surprises me to realize I have written easily over half a dozen pieces down there. Part of that is the fact that interesting, strange things happen in Florida. It is a bubbling-stew of a place. And the kinds of stories that interest me, people starting new lives, creating new communities, happened in Florida.
Fate intervenes. Disappointment is deflected. And you are grateful. Is that how you rule your life? I think about this all the time. I try to figure out if there is destiny and fate or if life is just haphazard. What we search for is a kind of order and logic in what is the chaotic and illogical experience of being alive.
I think you grab on to little footholds that make you think that there is logic and that there is some sense of order in your life.
It is very funny how much we crave that. I am almost delighted to have a fortune teller say to me, "Nothing is going to happen until January" because I feel relieved of that anticipation.
It is a comfort to think that there is something. Sometimes I wonder how it is that I ended up as a writer. It seems, looking back on it, almost fated.
On the other hand I am not sure. Do I believe that? Do you still have the desire, unrequited as it was at the end of the book, to see a ghost orchid? Now I am a little afraid to see one.
It could never have matched all of the expectations that I was bringing to it. A ranger from the Fakahatchee called me after the book came out and said, "If you want to see a ghost orchid, I will take you to see one. You can come down.
I like just imagining it, as something irresistible and unattainable. One of these days I suspect I will see one.
It would be nice if it were by accident. Have you seen or talked to John Laroche since the book was published? I have talked to him. And he said to me in his usual way, "You know, if you write a couple more books, you could turn into a pretty good writer.
There is never anything in the book that unambiguously paints Laroche as an attractive individual, yet he seems to have exerted a strong almost pseudo-antagonist influence on you amid the sexual imagery that pervades the descriptions and activities of orchids—growing in the crotches of a pop ash tree—Laroche lusting after orchids—the passion for them being the catalyst for divorce and so on. Did you analyze your fascination with Laroche going beyond the objective interest in his passion?
There was a lot of sexual imagery in the book. I only realize this now. Certainly, when I set out to write a book about flowers, I never thought it would be sexy. But our relationship was strictly reporter and subject. It is certainly true that you develop a kind of intimacy with someone you are writing about.
You spend an enormous amount of time with them. You want to hear everything they have to say. It is a kind of idealized relationship. By definition, everything he had to say was interesting to me, because that is what I was there to do: I think you can become very attached, very connected to each other. Going back to the parasitic theme: He was my subject. His cooperation made it possible for me to write a book.
I think one of the great questions in non-fiction is: Because the relationship ends when the book ends, is that a betrayal? There was never any flicker of romantic interest on my side, and I suspect on both sides.
But you do develop a connection that is unusual. It is hard to imagine any relationship that is similar, except that of a confessor, I suppose. There was a great piece years ago written by Janet Malcolm, that argued that there is a mutually exploitative relationship between a reporter and a subject. I have to agree with her. That does not mean that it is evil and corrupt. It is not a natural relationship. It is a very unnatural relationship. You are not having a friendship with John Laroche.
You are having a relationship within the context of the reportage. It means that you always have to be aware that it is an unnatural circumstance. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! The Orchid Thief shows her gifts in full bloom.
Just when you fear you're lost in the Everglades, she returns to the flower at hand, and unleashes some delirious prose Orlean shows great restraint and never adopts an orchid--readers may not manage to be so cold-blooded. Here are visionary passions and fierce obsessions; heroic settings; outsize characters, entrepreneurs on the edge of the frontier, adventurers seeking the bubble reputation Orlean, an intrepid sociologist among the orchid fanatics, is also a poetic observer of the Fakahatchee swamp.
There's an offhand brilliance in her accounts of its weird beauty and discomforts.
But the most compelling sections of this fascinating book deal with the orchids themselves The Orchid Thief is a lesson in the dark, dangerous, sometimes hilarious nature of obsession--any obsession.
You sometimes don't want to read on, but find you can't help it. In prose as lush and full of surprises as the Fakahatchee itself, Orlean connects orchid-related excesses of the past with the exploits of the present so dramatically an orchid will never just be an orchid again. Like many orchids, it's a beautiful hybrid: Led by the title character, a charismatic plant smuggler, you'll journey with Orlean through a strangely fascinating, almost mystical subculture.
Such rapturous evocations are reason enough to read Orlean's book. Susan Orlean is a perfect example In a dry reporter's style, spiked with wit and charged with infectious enthusiasm, Orlean explains orchid biology and traces the history of orchid hunting, scattering surprises as she goes An endearingly timid explorer who shudders each time she lowers herself into the teeming ooze of the Fakahatchee, Orlean is also an acute observer of the personalities and rivalries she encounters Orlean allows accidental discoveries and encounters to dicate the book's peculiar, engrossing course.
Its central figure is John Laroche, the 'oddball ultimate' of a subculture whose members are so enthralled by orchids they 'pursue them like lovers.