The book chronicles the rise and fall of Matt Flight, an idealistic young artist who believes he can change the world. With a cast of characters like a page from the Theatre of the Absurd, The Orchard rattles along at an unremitting pace. Here you may read of the pitifully washed-out nostalgist Cyril Pout; the camp and outrageous couturier Willie Fitz; the sex-crazed janitor Gittins; the devious art-market-fixers Bernie Feltz and Sylvester Rich; the singing Police Chief Buller and his agony-aunt friend Dame Bridget Bradstock; the American tycoon Hiram Grouper and his English butler Sir Harvey Haugh. Only Matt’s girlfriend Holly Tree is with him for more than the ride. Knowing and worldly-wise, she believes she can steer him through the madness he has unleashed.