THE ORCHARD KEEPER, Cormac McCarthy's first novel, explores the nature of new versus old ways of life. It's a novel on nature. It deals primarily with three men: John Wesley, a young man coming of age; Marion Sylder, a bootlegger; and Uncle Ather, a hilarious, elderly man who refuses to take any crap from anyone. While these three run into each other throughout the novel, they are also connected to each other in a way through which none of them are aware--through the death of Kenneth Rattner. McCarthy's novel appears to be more of a character analysis than a plot driven story. While a plot does exist, it is not incredibly strong nor prominent. It's more like a series of anecdotes. However, the character depth and symbolism found in the pages of this book are tremendously wonderful. It's definitely a book worth reading again in order to catch all of these symbols and meanings. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy analyzing works, not someone who is just looking for something pleasurable to read. It's definitely not like reading Harry Potter : ). For example, at the beginning of this work, the narrator jumps from person to person, telling part of each one's story with little or no signal of whom is being spoken of. You have to take your time to figure out who the narrator is talking about. This can be rather frustrating at first, so beware! However, if you can tolerate this writing style and don't expect much of a plot, the piece is rather enjoyable, filled with comic elements and brilliance.