Sunday, June 30, 2013

Luanne Rice: The Lemon Orchard

        I wrote THE LEMON ORCHARD after moving to California, after a lifetime on the east coast.  The move shocked me—I needed to do it but am still not 100% sure why.  Nature, a sort of wilderness missing in my life, summoned me.  I left New York City and settled on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains.  I have one lemon tree in my yard, but a whole orchard grew in my imagination.

        The deck at the new house needed repairing, so I hired someone who wound up inspiring the character of Roberto.  He is from Mexico, an undocumented worker who crossed the border through the desert.  What strikes me most is how much he misses his family back home.  His grandmother raised him, and he calls her “Mom,” and now she is old and getting sick, but he can’t visit her because he doesn’t have papers.

        I am touched by that fact.  My ancestors were Irish immigrants.  They traveled here by ship—a long, arduous journey—and never returned home again.  I’m interested in how we all make our way, what we leave behind, what we sacrifice for a better life.  People throughout time and place share feelings of loss, love, desire, hope.  The characters in THE LEMON ORCHARD are from “different worlds”—but not really.  The landscape of the human heart is the same everywhere.

        Life is funny, and never one thing or the other.  I came to this part of the California coast in search wilderness, and I found it.  Yet within the wild place I discovered peace, love, common ground.  Like many migrants before me, I moved very far away to arrive at home.


Connie said...

I’m intrigued by the title and location of this novel as it appears to offer a sense of peace and tranquility. While Roberto appears frustrated at not being with his family while trying to make a better life for himself. I’m interested to find out how he manages this.

Pat Cochran said...

Both my maternal and paternal grandparents
came to the US from Mexico with small fami-
lies in the early 1900s, seeking new lives.
They never looked back and one of my favo-
rite memories was seeing my maternal
"abuelito" studying for his citizenship test.
One of his most prized possessions was the
card sent to him for his 90th birthday by
the President of the United States!

Pat C.

Mary Preston said...

I love looking at my own family history. My Mother's people hail from England and Ireland and my Father's from Denmark and Germany. My Mother has always claimed me to be a wild Viking. I do have the fair hair & blue eyes if nothing else.