The Orchid Thief, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Susan Orlean first met John Laroche when visiting Florida to write for the New Yorker about his arrest for stealing rare ghost orchids from a nature reserve.

Fascinated both by Laroche and the world she uncovered of orchid collectors and growers, she stayed on, to write this magical exploration of obsession and the strange world both of the orchid obsessives and of Florida, that haunting and weird 'debatable land' of swamps and condos, retirement communities and real-estate scams.

The world of the orchid hunters, breeders and showmen, their rivalries, vendettas and crimes, smuggling, thefts and worse provide the backdrop to a fascinating exploration of one of the byways of human nature, the obsessive world of the collector, and the haunting beauty of the flowers themselves.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780099289586

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I never expected to like this book, let alone love it as much as I did. Orlean's story, which forms the basis of the Nicholas Cage film "Adaptation," is a celebration of beauty as much as it is a search for it; Orlean finds the most fascinating character, and follows him in his dark search for the most beautiful orchid.

Review by

An article turns into a book about people who are obsessed about these flowers that grow in Florida. Focus is particularly on John Laroche, a strange but charasmatic guy who wants people to think he does good by being bad. Chock full of trivia about orchid collecting and collectors, with emphasis on the scene in Florida.

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