The Orchard Keeper, Cormac McCarthy’s first novel, is more than just a taste of what will come later in his writing career (although there is certainly that element in the novel). Mainly, the novel features his extremely distinctive prose. His weird, twisted diction, mixed with Kentucky dialect and strange extinct words brought back to life on the page.
The plot of The Orchard Keeper is hard to follow. Characters are sometimes not named, and the reader must decipher who is speaking and where and when the action is occurring. There are several events happening nearly together, and they are tied at the end in a not completely satisfactory way.
The real showcase of this novel is the use of language. McCarthy shows here that he is not afraid to use language to fit the needs of his art, sometimes nearly twisting it to be breaking point.