Advance Praise for The Blue Orchard
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“In what could be a modern classic, poet and fiction writer Taylor takes an unblinking look at abortion in America many decades before Roe v. Wade. In this powerful, vivid debut novel, Taylor parses issues of race, power, and religion in unflinching terms while believably inhabiting the mind of a conflicted woman.”
— Publisher’s Weekly
“Like all great novelists, Taylor disappears in his strong sentences, as he illuminates the thorny ways of class, race, and gender. This is an amazing book.”
—Marie Ponsot, National Book Award Winner, Springing and The Bird Catcher.
“Like a scythe Jackson Taylor’s words cut across a huge swath of American landscape laying bare deep recesses of this nation’s soul.
There are no wrong words, wrong turns or wasted time here. Verna Krone is an astonishing character who reels us into the heart of a hitherto unknown land meticulously researched by Taylor. Family, poverty, women’s lives, race, class, and the grand act that was America at the beginning of the twentieth century are seen and with hypnotic and layered prose Taylor transports the reader through the grit of an era gone by. At the story’s center is the burning question of the female body itself burdened by treacherously unequal relationships, financial dependency, and warped interpretations of Christianity.
Blue Orchard is a classic, a great American novel that will astonish and quicken dead and bored parts of our hearts. This is a solid, true, achievement that will stand the test of time. If Jackson Taylor never writes another word he has made his mark with Blue Orchard.”
—Sapphire, poet and author of Push, soon to be Precious a major motion picture.
“Jackson Taylor’s The Blue Orchard held me in its spell. His central character, Verna Krone, is a complex, flawed, flesh and blood woman whose voice, as rendered by Taylor, is pitch-perfect. The Blue Orchard probes and illuminates complex and controversial issues; Taylor is a master storyteller and his novel is riveting, substantial, and unforgettable.”
—Wally Lamb, Author of She’s Come Undone and The Hour I First Believed.
“A work of overwhelming tenderness, unflinching veracity, delicacy and restraint, The Blue Orchard grows out of the great tradition of American realism. It reminds me of what I love best in novels such as Sister Carrie, Giants in the Earth and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: that aching respect for what human beings can and must go through, and the formal power that gives it literary resonance. I was engaged and moved from start to finish by Jackson Taylor’s storytelling art.”
“This novel recreates wonderfully a time, a place, and a circumstance in American life that drove women and men alike to break a law that could never — and will never — be obeyed. In Verna Krone — a woman of feeling and intelligence made hard by the need to endure — we have exactly the right narrator for the story Jackson Taylor wants to tell. I found myself stirred repeatedly.”
“The Blue Orchard is a revelation, an insightful look at a girl born into poverty and ignorance with a mind of her own and the courage to act on it. You’ll be rooting hard for Verna Krone as she overcomes seduction and betrayal to become a self-determined woman who, with her own life as example, determines to help others. Jackson Taylor has given us not just Verna’s story, but a clear view into an historic moment….We all need to read and remember this story.”
If you want to understand Roe vs. Wade, Civil Rights, Nixon, Viet-Nam, Free Love, Free Sex, Pop Art, Howl, feminism and the death of white gloves and veiled hats–then read The Blue Orchard. It unflinchingly creates the tranquilified but restless era that ignited into the 1960’s– unleashing an explosion that would forever change America. If Verna Krone didn’t light the fuse on the future. . . she certainly packed the powder and brought the matches!
—Ultra Violet, Author of “Famous for Fifteen Minutes: My Life with Andy Warhol.”