And Other Stories
By Daniel Orozco
(Faber & Faber, Paperback, 9780865478718, 176pp.)
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Breakfast's boiled egg, the overhead hum of fluorescent lights, the midmorning coffee break--daily routines keep the world running. But when people are pushed--by a coworker's taunt, a face-to-face encounter with a woman in free fall from a bridge--cracks appear, revealing alienation, casual cruelty, madness, and above all a simultaneous hunger for and fear of the unknown.
Daniel Orozco leads the reader through the hidden lives and moral philosophies of bridge painters, men housebound by obesity, office temps, and warehouse workers. He reveals the secret pleasures of late-night supermarket trips for cookie binges, exceptional data entry, and an exiled dictator's occasional piss on the U.S. embassy. A love affair blooms between two officers in the impartially worded pages of a police blotter; a new employee's first-day office tour includes descriptions of other workers' most private thoughts and actions; during an earthquake, the consciousness of the entire state of California shakes free for examination.
Orientation introduces a writer at the height of his powers, whose work surely invites us to reassess the landscape of American fiction.
Orientation is a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 Short Story Collections title.
Daniel Orozco's stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Essays, and the Pushcart Prize anthology, as well as in Harper's Magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story, McSweeney's, Ecotone, and Story-Quarterly. He was awarded a 2006 NEA Fellowship and was a finalist for a 2006 National Magazine Award. A former Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford, he teaches creative writing at the University of Idaho.
NPR's Lynn Neary taps three book critics â?? Laura Miller, Ron Charles and Rigoberto Gonzalez â?? to get their picks for the best summer reading. More at NPR.org
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Inspired . . . acidly comic . . . virtuosic.
'Temporary Stories,' the eighth entry in Daniel Orozco's debut collection, Orientation (Faber and Faber), is a gem and a killer. Not since Henry James's 'In the Cage' has a writer so perfectly captured the anxieties of interacting with the public for pay. Somehow, Orozco manages to convey James's psychological acuity with one-tenth of his clauses, mingling it with Steven Millhauser's sense of lunatic joy.
Orozco's long-anticipated collection, Orientation and Other Stories, holds a cracked Barthelme-meets-Kafka-esque mirror to this twenty-first-century American life.
[Orozco's] cracked characters grip like Krazy Glue.
These nine darkly funny, profoundly compassionate stories take as their subject the loneliness particular to contemporary culture . . . 'You can't know anybody, not really, not in the brief overlaps of flimsy acquaintance, nor in the tenuous and fleeting opportunities for connection that we are afforded,' thinks a man about to be shot for the $60 in his wallet. But the real genius here is the subtle accumulation of evidence to the contrary--the insistence that even in the office cubicle, or between the lines of the police blotter, human contact is sought after and made.
The moment you begin this incomparable debut, you'll discover why Daniel Orozco's fans have been shouting his praises for years. In these wildly original stories, single details reveal whole human lives; the impersonal dissolves seamlessly into the personal; the geological transforms into the psychological; and the short story itself breaks open to reveal previously unimagined possibility. This may be Orozco's first collection, but he's nothing short of a master.
Orientation is a wonderful collection of stories. 'Somoza's Dream' alone is worth the price of the ticket. But that's not fair, because the same could be said of 'Officers Weep,' 'Shakers,' and every single story in this stunning piece of literary art.
Orientation is a seriously good book--beautifully written, rigorous, funny, brokenhearted, smart, and without a hint of pretense. Orozco has achieved that rare thing, his own prose rhythm, and the truth of it is a pleasure to the ear.
I became a fan of Daniel Orozco when I first read the story 'Orientation' back in the 1990s. I've been waiting eagerly for this collection ever since, and I'm so grateful to have it in my hands at last. Orozco is a vital American writer, and this book is cause for celebration.
At a time when trivial tales are often expanded and diluted into book-length narratives, Daniel Orozco's Orientation brings hope for the return of serious short-form storytelling. The stories in this collection make one marvel at the bigness of their creator's mind--each of them has the depth and scope of a novel. Orozco has both the relentlessness and the compassion of a truly great writer.
This book brims with big, deadly surprises and sharp, hallucinatory images. Orozco can do anything: first, second, third person; he can explode moments into whole stories, and dash through lifetimes in a paragraph. Orientation contains nine unsettling, boundary-crossing, and exquisitely-fashioned stories--and I won't be surprised when it becomes a classic.