About this item

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * 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. Determined to clone an endangered flower - the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii - a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America's strange flower-selling subculture, through Florida's swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles 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.

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 Reader's 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 [Orlean's] 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

"Orlean's snapshot-vivid, pitch-perfect prose . . . is fast becoming one of our national treasures." - The Washington Post Book World

"Orlean's 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



About the Author

Susan Orlean

I'm the product of a happy and uneventful childhood in the suburbs of Cleveland, followed by a happy and pretty eventful four years as a student at University of Michigan. From there, I wandered to the West Coast, landing in Portland, Oregon, where I managed (somehow) to get a job as a writer. This had been my dream, of course, but I had no experience and no credentials. What I did have, in spades, was an abiding passion for storytelling and sentence-making. I fell in love with the experience of writing, and I've never stopped. From Portland, I moved to Boston, where I wrote for the Phoenix and the Globe, and then to New York, where I began writing for magazines, and, in 1987, published my first piece in The New Yorker. I've been a staff writer there since 1992.



Read Next Recommendation

Discuss with your friends


Report incorrect product information.