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The Orchid Thief centers on south Florida and John Laroche, a quixotic, charismatic schemer once convicted of attempting to take endangered orchids from the Fakahatchee swamp, a state preserve. Laroche, a horticultural consultant who once ran an extensive nursery for the Seminole tribe, dreams of making a fortune for the Seminoles and himself by cloning the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii. Laroche sums up the obsession that drives him and so many others:
I really have to watch myself, especially around plants. Even now, just being here, I still get that collector feeling. You know what I mean. I'll see something and then suddenly I get that feeling. It's like I can't just have something--I have to have it and learn about it and grow it and sell it and master it and have a million of it.Even Orlean--so leery of orchid fever that she immediately gives away any plant that's pressed upon her by the growers in Laroche's circle--develops a desire to see a ghost orchid blooming and makes several ultimately unsuccessful treks into the Fakahatchee. Filled with Palm Beach socialites, Native Americans, English peers, smugglers, and naturalists as improbably colorful as the tropical blossoms that inspire them, this is a lyrical, funny, addictively entertaining read. --Barrie Trinkle
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Book Description Paperback. Condition: new. Paperback. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orleans wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flowerthe rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindeniia deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of Americas strange flower-selling subculture, through Floridas swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orleanand the readerwill have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion. In this new edition, coming fifteen years after its initial publication and twenty years after she first met the orchid thief, Orlean revisits this unforgettable world, and the route by which it was brought to the screen in the film Adaptation, in a new retrospective essay.Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Readers Circle for author chats and more. Praise for The Orchid Thief Stylishly written, whimsical yet sophisticated, quirkily detailed and full of empathy . . . The Orchid Thief shows [Orleans] gifts in full bloom.The New York Times Book Review Fascinating . . . an engrossing journey [full] of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing.Los Angeles Times Orleans snapshot-vivid, pitch-perfect prose . . . is fast becoming one of our national treasures.The Washington Post Book World Orleans gifts [are] her ear for the self-skewing dialogue, her eye for the incongruous, convincing detail, and her Didion-like deftness in description.Boston Sunday Globe A swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great.The Wall Street Journal The orchid thief is John Laroche, a renegade plant dealer and sharply handsome guy in spite of the fact that he is missing all his teeth and has the posture of al dente spaghetti. This national bestseller follows him into the Florida swamp to relate his mesmerizing true story of beauty and obsession. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9780449003718
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