Published by HarperCollins on May 5th 2015
Genres: Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers
As summer draws to a close, a Small Long Island town is plagued by a series of mysterious deaths— and one young man, a loner taken in by a local, tries to piece together the crimes before his own time runs out.
Orient is an isolated hamlet on the North Fork of Long Island—a quiet, historic village that swells each summer with vacationers, Manhattan escapees, and wealthy young artists from the city with designs on local real estate. On the last day of summer, a teenage drifter named Mills Chevern arrives in town. Soon after, the village is rocked by a series of unsettling events: the local caretaker is found floating lifeless in the ocean; an elderly neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances; and a monstrous animal corpse is discovered on the beach not far from a research lab often suspected of harboring biological experiments. Before long, other more horrific events plunge the community into a spiral of paranoia.
As the village struggles to make sense of the wave of violence, anxious eyes settle on the mysterious Mills, a troubled orphan with no family, a hazy history, and unknown intentions. But he finds one friend in Beth, an Orient native in retreat from Manhattan, who is determined to unravel the mystery before the small town devours itself. Suffused with tension, rich with character and a haunting sense of lives suspended against an uncertain future, Orient is both a galvanic thriller and a provocative portrait of the dark side of the American dream: an idyllic community where no one is safe. It marks the emergence of a novelist of enormous talent.
This was a great book for people that love realistic characters and little suspense. Actually, Orient had a lot of suspense. I could barely put it down, and chewed all my nails off in anticipation for what would happen next.
Orient is a town close to New York. It’s year round residents have come to pride themselves as being such. The newer residents, mostly artists from New York city, are slowly taking over. The year rounders don’t want to give these newbies an inch and even have a board that helps the people decide on how to use the land and who should occupy the spaces. Beth is an Orient native that left and came back. She is an artist and recently discovered she is pregnant. Her neighbor Paul is also a native who left and came back. Paul has brought a stranger with him named Mills. Mills is a seemingly “dangerous” drifter and his presence is unwanted. When native Orient members of the Historical Board start dying, Mills is the one the locals want to pin it on. Beth and Mills set off to find out the truth of who or what is behind the deaths. Off of the sound strange creatures are washing up to Orient beaches. There is an island where Animal Disease testing takes place about to close down that may be to blame. There is much more to this town and it’s residents then meets the eye. The mystery of who or what is behind the strange happenings will take unlikely friends Beth and Mills on an adventure to uncover the truth.
If that seems long and complicated, well sorry. This book is long, and I am surely not going to be able to sum up 640 pages in one paragraph. This book gave us so much delicious insight into the town of Orient and it’s inhabitants, I am now feeling a bit of loss now that the book is over for me. It never felt like too much information, surprisingly. I can’t recall the story dragging at any point either. This book was very well written. I have nothing to complain about really. This book maintained 3rd person narrative and I really loved the writing style. It was almost voyeuristic learning all about the people in the town of Orient.
I loved that this book gave me insight into the lives of the characters without giving away all their secret thoughts. Beth and her husband Gavril, both artists, have a really frustrating relationship. Early in the story she finds out she is pregnant, and then she doesn’t know if she really wants a baby. This caused me so much angst. Like really, I couldn’t wait for this girl to make up her mind. Then there is Mills, the foster kid who gets picked up by Paul to help clean up his parent’s mansion. Mills is odd, and introverted. He is just enough awkward to seem devious. I didn’t really make up my mind on whether to trust him or not until half way through the story. That is 300 pages in just in case you weren’t paying attention. I read a ton of books and I can’t recall the last time it took me over 300 pages to figure out a character!
The mystery in this book really kept me guessing. Getting to learn so much about the residents in the town made many characters suspect, but I didn’t have a really good theory on who-done-it even as the mystery unraveled for me. This was really superb storytelling. Literary fiction at it’s best, in my opinion. I feel privileged that I was able to devote the time to read this and get to know Orient for myself.
About the Author
Christopher Bollen is an editor at large for Interview magazine. He is the author of the novel Lightning People, and his work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, the Believer, and Artforum, among other publications. He lives in New York.
Check out the tour for Orient