A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession.
From Florida’s swamps to its courtrooms, the New Yorker writer follows one deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man’s possibly criminal pursuit of an endangered flower. Determined to clone the rare ghost orchid, Polyrrhiza lindenii, John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, along with the Seminole Indians who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean–and the reader–will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion.
Praise for The Orchid Thief:
“Fascinating . . . tales of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing . . . an engrossing journey.”
–Los Angeles Times
“Irresistible . . . a brilliantly reported account of an illicit scheme to housebreak Florida’s wild and endangered ghost orchid . . . Its central figure is John Laroche, the ‘oddball ultimate’ of a subculture whose members are so enthralled by orchids they ‘pursue them like lovers.’ ”
–Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Artful . . . in Ms. Orlean’s skillful handling, her orchid story turns out to be distinctly ‘something more.’ . . . [Her] portrait of her sometimes sad-making orchid thief allows the reader to discover acres of opportunity where intriguing things can be found.”
–The New York Times
“Zestful . . . a swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great.”
–The Wall Street Journal
“Deliciously weird . . . compelling.”
–Detroit Free Press
Inspired by a short, bizarre newspaper article, journalist Susan Orlean embarks on an amusing two-year journey to understand a passionate, yet somehow principled crook and one of his ephemeral obsessions--wild orchids. Her profile of John Laroche was the basis for the critically acclaimed film, ADAPTATION (2003), directed by Spike Jonze, and starring Nicholas Cage and (as Susan Orlean) Meryl Streep. A New York Times Notable Book for 1999.
- Gardening, Biography + Autobiography
- Flowers / Orchids, General
- January 1, 2000
- January 1, 2000
- Susan Orlean