Orientation

Orientation

And Other Stories

Book - 2011
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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.

Publisher: New York : Faber and Faber, Inc., 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780865478534
0865478538
Branch Call Number: F Oro

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SFPL_RicardoA Mar 12, 2015

This is a great collection of short stories by Daniel Orozco, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Utah. The book opens with Orientation, a minimalist, mechanical, and unexpectedly funny look at the first-day orientation of an office employee. In this piece, Orozco’s fiction resonates with today’s world of displaced, downsized, and over-regulated workers. It reads like a perfect metaphor of contemporary work life. Temporary Stories, a companion piece, is hilarious and at times sad portrait of a temp worker’s fragmented labor pains.

Also related to the working life is The Bridge, probably the best story in this collection. It describes a day in the life of a Golden Gate Bridge painter. Orozco’s vivid attention to detail describing the sometimes terrifying aspects of this job will make readers think about the iconic bridge in a whole new way.

IOrozco also displays a talent for writing historical fiction in Somoza’s Dream. This story follows the last days of dictator Anastazio Somoza Debayle’s exile in Paraguay, complete with the dictator’s recollections of a glamorous past. At the same time, a plot against his life develops and brings the story to an explosive conclusion.

Given Orozco's versatility and virtuosity in his writing, one can only hope that this is only the first of many story collections to come.

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