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Orientation: And Other Stories by Daniel…

Orientation: And Other Stories

by Daniel Orozco

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Showing 5 of 5
I haven't gotten this excited about a short story collection since I stumbled across Sam Lipsyte's Venus Drive a few months back. If you're a fan of impeccable prose, pitch-black humor, and Saunders-style weirdness, buy this book immediately. Hell, I'll buy a copy for you if you promise to read it. It's just that good. ( )
  teresaemu | Aug 22, 2014 |
The Writer's Center
  sungene | Jul 11, 2014 |
An impressive collection that displays the author's considerable talent because the stories are so diverse - both in their premises and in their technique, ranging from extended narrations (in "Orientation") to police reports ("Officers Weep") to a sweeping bird's eye view that pans over and across all the lives of the people affected by an earthquake ("Shakers"). The 9 stories in the collection are:

1. Orientation - 10 pp - In the form of an extended narration, an experienced employee gives an office tour to a newbie, giving him all the rules of cubicle decorum and gossipy insights into the characters that occupy each desk. Gets increasingly bizarre and hilarious as it builds to the revelation that one of the workers is a serial killer at night. ("Don't bother him.")

2. The Bridge - 8 pp - A story that offers great, detailed descriptions of the work involved in repainting massive bridges. A new guy joins the crew, and gets the nickname "Baby," and has to deal with the hardest part of the job - watching jumpers leap to their death.

3. Hunger Tales - 20 pp - Four different tales of the role food plays in people's lives - first, a young woman who obsesses over cookies, and who shops at a super-grocery store in the middle of the night so she won't be spotted by anyone she knows; then, a 600-pound man who can't live any kind of a normal life because of his enormous girth; thirdly, a woman on a blind date that starts off well, takes a few odd twists and then becomes entirely focused - for her at least - on a spectacular dessert; and finally a father and son, who in their grief over the loss of their wife and mother, go on an epic eating binge, finishing off a Thanksgiving meal furnished them by the funeral director, and then gorging on every other biyt of food they can find in their refrigerator and kitchen.

4. I Run Every Day - 16 pp - An incredibly powerful tale of a young man who works at a school supply warehouse and who is isolated from everyone in his life and whose only joy in life is the long runs he goes for each morning. When a female co-worker reaches out to him, she pays a heavy price for trying to make a connection.

5. Somoza's Dream - 33 pp - A great portrait of tin-pot dictator in exile in Paraguay after he's been disposed, offering rich details of what his life has become. Also shifts into the point of view of the cook at the estate where he lives, who despises him; the Paraguayan security guards, who wish they weren't saddled with protecting him; and the crew of assassins who are plotting to execute him.

6. Officers Weep - 13 pp - A hilariously funny tale of the burgeoning romance between two uniformed police officers, told through the reports they file on the routine the calls they go on, often arresting people simply because they've annoyed them.

7. Only Connect - 15 pp - Starts off from the perspective of a young man who attends a co-worker's party, hoping to make a romantic connection. When he realizes the woman isn't interested in him, he leaves the party and is randomly gunned down by two losers out to get money to finance their drug needs. A woman who crosses their path is spared and the story then shifts to her point-of-view, telling details of the rest of her life as she is always haunted by - and grateful to - the killer whom she spotted and never reported after he let her go unharmed.

8. Temporary Stories - 19 pp - Tells the lonely adventures of a young temporary worker, Clarissa Snow, as she journeys through her various jobs - working as a receptionist in a hospital human resources office, where's she overwhelmed by all the desperate pleas of unemployed people seeking work; typing in isolation a confidential report about a company's plans to layoff its staff while all of her workers try to make her feel like part of the team; and a "dream job," converting all the paper records of births, marriages, etc for a town to an electronic database and where she must hold off the subtle romantic overtures of a co-worker interested in her.

9. Shakers - 15 pp - A story that conveys the impact of a California earthquake by panning across the lives of all the people affected by it, including most harrowingly a hiker trapped in a ravine with a shattered leg and knee, no cell phone, no water, and a rattlesnake who decides to take comfort in the night by coiling into his crotch ( )
  johnluiz | Aug 6, 2013 |
excellent collection of short stories. Orozco can write in first, third and even second person. Some stories last just a few minutes, others cover decades, all are compelling. ( )
  valerieweak | Jul 19, 2011 |
Funny, weird, frequently disturbing, but always fascinating shorts. ( )
  amydross | Jun 20, 2011 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0865478538, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2011: You would be hard pressed to find a more consistent collection of short stories than Daniel Orozco's Orientation: And Other Stories, which gives us a surprising glimpse into lives that are too strange for a novel, but too fascinating to ignore. "The Bridge" tells us about bridge painters, who must, with some regularity, talk people down from throwing themselves off bridges. "I Run Every Day" profiles a boy whose embrace of isolation and his jogging routine leads him to commit a terrible act. But "Hunger Tales," the stickiest story in the book, is a series of deeply affecting vignettes about how the things we eat can make us feel guilt, loneliness, and comfort all at the same time. Orozco, whose work has been featured in McSweeney's, Harper's, and Best American Short Stories, recalls the melancholic tone of Dave Eggers (especially if you've read his short stories in How We Are Hungry) paired with the wit of George Saunders and a trace of Joyce Carol Oates's dark humor. But Orozco’s voice is unique, even if it is universally felt. --Kevin Nguyen

Product Description
Breakfast’s boiled egg, the overhead hum of fluorescent lights, the midmorning coffee break—the reassurance of daily routine keeps the world running. But when pushed—by a coworker’s taunt, a face-to-face encounter with a woman in free fall—cracks appear and reveal alienation, casual cruelty, madness, and above all a simultaneous hunger for and fear of the unknown.
In this fantastically original debut collection, Daniel Orozco leads the reader through the secret lives and moral philosophies of bridge painters, men housebound by obesity, office temps, and warehouse workers. Orozco 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. The stories are formally inventive: 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. Each story in the collection has a gut-punch impact, softened only by lyricism and black humor. Orozco is a major new talent and an important addition to the landscape of American fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:22 -0400)

In this collection, Orozco leads the reader through the secret lives and moral philosophies of bridge painters, men housebound by obesity, office temps, and warehouse workers. Each story in the collection has a gut-punch impact, softened only by lyricism and black humor.… (more)

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