- Orientation: And Other Stories by Daniel Orozco
- Orientation: And Other Stories
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- Daniel Orozco
- KIRKUS REVIEW
And it did, oh how it did! I absolutely loved it, even the parts I felt I hated because of the subject. Aug 01, Dianne rated it really liked it. It's a rare occasion to read a collection of stories as fine as all of these.
Orozco's characters search for solace in their solitude, and find it where and if they can--sometimes not until the very last sentence of their stories. Each story reminded me of jewelry--like small, beautiful pieces of enamelware, well-considered and carefully wrought--and I don't know if it's the strength of his writing, or the strength of his editing, but the efforts show.
The metaphors, with the exception It's a rare occasion to read a collection of stories as fine as all of these. The metaphors, with the exception of one in the final piece "Shakers" are gorgeous. The characters look and sound like real people who work real jobs, even down to the Rilke quoting warehouse worker. Epiphanies are tucked into sentences that glimmer. If you're looking for happiness, however, look elsewhere. There is debauchery lying low in sentences that depict a meth head and his lover, "They got a bottle of Hennessy and a bucket of friend chicken and lay in bed watching cable TV late into the morning," that feel somehow more disturbing than the fact they've shot a man in the midst of a robbery in "Only Connect.
Violently so, but I think the old man might understand. Jul 16, cory rated it it was amazing. Jun 11, Jenny Shank rated it it was amazing. The years of care Orozco has put into this book—which was more than fifteen years in the making—are evident in every honed sentence. One story "Only Connect" hands off the perspective like a baton passed between relay runners among three people involved in a random street shooting.
Orozco is relentlessly entertaining, and as absurd as some of the scenarios he comes up with are, his characters are always human and moving. The unforgettable title story takes the reader on a hysterical, surreal journey through the contemporary workplace as an unnamed employee explains the layout, office rules, and peculiarities of all the other employees to a new hire: And this, this is our Mr. We have a coffee pool into which we each pay two dollars a week for coffee, filters, sugar, and Coffee-mate.
If you prefer Cremora or half-and-half to Coffee-mate, there is a special pool for three dollars a week. We do not do decaf.
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You are allowed to join the coffee pool of your choice, but you are not allowed to touch the Mr. The dead wife of an employee haunts the office, leaving messages in the appointment book. Say that he seemed like a nice person, a bit of a loner, perhaps, but always quiet and polite" , and the cheery, penguin-obsessed Gwendolyn Stitch: One quality that unites these disparate stories is the loneliness of their characters.
When a coworker develops a crush on him, he shirks her as long as he can, then retaliates in a brutal manner. It was worth the wait. Orozco brings new life to the story form in each of these nine surprising, witty, and thoughtful stories. Jun 05, Peter Derk rated it liked it Shelves: Short stories can be a tough sell.
Strangely, they feel harder to write, and they give you a good deal of variety, but most people seem less interested in short stories than longform works. A lot of claims have to do with the fact that you're less invested in the story before it ends, which I get. But I would pose the theory that part of the problem with short story collections is that they tend to be a little uneven. Novels are equally so, but because they don't delineate sections as heavily it' Short stories can be a tough sell.
Orientation: And Other Stories by Daniel Orozco
Novels are equally so, but because they don't delineate sections as heavily it's a little less noticeable. That unevenness is what kept this book from snagging a few more stars. There were some truly excellent stories, such as "The Bridge" and "Temporary Stories. All the other stories seemed to center around a character who acted as a cog in the machine, something that rang very true in the writing.
But this story, the story of a South American dictator in exile, a man who turns the gears, didn't offer me a whole lot. It didn't hit those great short story notes, the small details that are somehow unexpected and yet totally familiar. I'd recommend reading this out of order, starting with "The Bridge" and "Temporary Stories. I only read "Orientation. While reading this short story, memories of my past work place played back—the ridiculous rules, the quirks of my colleagues and mine. It struck me personally as it did other readers.
The individual characters could actually be anyone of us; their follies could be yours or mine. I almost just want to write this review for the title story. That story alone is worth 5 stars. The other stories are all good, really getting a finger under the normal surface of everyday life and probing the dark places, but the title story is just in a class on its own. This is some good writing, but the title story is an absolute must read. Jul 21, TJ rated it liked it.
Orientation: And Other Stories
There were some stories I liked, and some that I didn't, but overall, while this book is an okay read - I wouldn't recommend it to anyone - it's very forgettable, and I just couldn't get an emotional connection to any of the characters or stories. Feb 02, Sylvia rated it it was amazing. Jun 04, Charles Xu rated it liked it. I can't quite put my finger on how I feel about Orientation. His distant narration paradoxically brings us closer to each character.
Yet, my gut tells me I'm missing something substantial. At times, each story feels too much like a random excerpt from a novel.
There are no resolutions and each plot is so fragmented and random--I really had to work to keep up with the action. So, despite the uncensored, raw content in Orientation which I very I can't quite put my finger on how I feel about Orientation. So, despite the uncensored, raw content in Orientation which I very much enjoyed , it's hard for me to look past the "fluff" and be satisfied after finishing the book.
Here's an excerpt of Orozco's stunning imagery in my favorite story: Sometimes I imagine her alongside me when I run, and I try to match my every movement to hers. Our shoulders jostled each other when we rounded the turns that day. Her hair was in a single braid, a thick rope of hair that swayed across her back. You could hear it swish against her windbreaker.
The rhythm of it paced us both. Nov 16, Richard Gogarty rated it it was amazing. Orozco has a kind of hyper-kinetic style - his prose is filled with lists, highly specific details and neat little vignettes.
It's like looking into an ant farm; full of activity and movement yet neatly contained in the 10 short stories he offers here. The titular story is one of the highlights; a standard office worker's introduction becoming more and more surreal as the details of co-worker's lives emerge. The story Officers Weep is also a neat piece of writing; a love affair described in the Orozco has a kind of hyper-kinetic style - his prose is filled with lists, highly specific details and neat little vignettes. The story Officers Weep is also a neat piece of writing; a love affair described in the taught, terse prose of a police blotter.
The Bridge is Orozco aping Raymond Carver; albeit in a less opaque style, thanks to its unresolved ending and sense that, much like the painting of a bridge, the same narrative is never finished and endlessly repeats over and over. An assured and highly readable collection that offers something for a wide range of readers. Dec 27, Tom rated it really liked it Shelves: This was a really fast paced short story collection.
A lot of these stories had a sinister undercurrent to them that paired well with the humorous way the author writes. I really enjoyed the title story, "Orientation," which opens the book and the final ones, "Temporary Tales" and "Shakers. Jul 22, Mason Neil rated it liked it. Orientation was a fun and entertaining collection. Orozco has a witty eye for details that are general and personable—his eye did not feel as cutting as Andre Dumas or as emotionally intimate as Alice Munro, but I found the stories to still carry with them a delicacy that understood the unique nature of each character's experience.
Many of the stories were new in their format to me, and I particularly liked Officers Weep. Aug 04, Nathaniel Winters rated it really liked it. Daniel tells very strange stories. His mind goes to unusual places but I can dig it. Aug 22, Ro rated it really liked it Shelves: Aug 10, Lynn Li rated it it was amazing. Really clever short stories that make no sense yet so much sense at the same time. Dec 13, Melanie Ullrich rated it liked it Shelves: The first and title story, Orientation, was perfect!
If anything, make the time to read the first 10 pages. Jan 13, Swong rated it really liked it. May 08, Kristina Harper rated it it was amazing Shelves: Dec 03, Kristin MB rated it liked it. Feb 05, Ralph rated it really liked it. You're a new worker at an unnamed corporation. You are being told company policy, the rules and regulations for employees. During orientation, you are also being told about the other workers. Along with the instructions for use of the kitchenette, and the rest room, and the exact rule on breaks, we find out who is in love with whom, and who was and no longer is in love with whom.
We also find out about who steals, and who "gorges himself at home on cold pizza and ice cream while watching adult vi You're a new worker at an unnamed corporation. We also find out about who steals, and who "gorges himself at home on cold pizza and ice cream while watching adult videos on TV. Her husband "subjects her to an escalating array of humiliating sex games, to which Amanda Pierce reluctantly submits. Do not let on. If you let on, you may be let go. This arch writing works only if it is paced not too fast, not too slow.
And I think it could only work in the confines of a short story. It needs the touch, and Orozco has that touch, so at the end of the seven pages of "Orientation," we have what S. Perelman calls a feuilleton a spare and comic bit, a droll commentary on contemporary corporate life and the secrets of the workplace, a system not unlike a dysfunctional family that sustains itself through the constant perpetuation of secrets.
In "Hunger Tales III," we get to see exactly why a blind date doesn't work with a dialogue between people who have never met. It is in Orozco's hands spare, sharp, and to the point.
All's well until the young man demands he doesn't ask, he demands to hear the name of his date's favorite kind of dog. He doesn't know they've just met that she can't stand dogs. The form again works: In "Officers Weep" we get a riotous day with two police him [Shield ] and her [Shield ] Criminal trespass and public disturbance. One-armed magazine salesman kicking doors and threatening residents. Officers sit on suspect, call for backup, ponder a cop koan: How do you cuff a one-armed man?
The unlikely conclusion of these thirty brief reports, all told in Policespeak, comes when and find themselves parked at a patrol spot on the Coast Highway, and Orozco is briefly able to suspend the form, giving a pleasant surprise to the two and to the reader , His hands reach for hers, their fingers clasp and enmesh, roil and swarm at the fourth finger of her left hand. Officers tug and pull, remove and park ring on dash. He reaches for her. He leans toward him; it is like falling.
Wedding ring on dash glints in the shifting light, listless as a bottle cap or a shiny old button, something a bird might snatch up. Those people who give us tickets and take our number in the building department and administer our driving test and draw our blood and take our oath in the courtroom and answer the telephone at Human Services are human: We may be blinded by their uniforms or their uniform voices or their uniform jobs but they are not: See more reviews at www.
Aug 09, John Luiz rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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: Orientation - 10 pp - In the form of an extended narration, an experienced employee gives an 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".
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.
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. 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 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. One of the most resonant lines in modern literature comes from E. Orozco, who teaches creative writing at the University of Idaho, is a well-known name in short story circles whose work has been widely anthologized. This makes it all the more remarkable to find out that Orientation is his first book.
The characters we meet are temps, bridge painters, warehouse staff, secretaries and cops. The theme of connection here provides the story with its structure, being a monologue-as-flowchart of the web of relationships among co-workers: The workplace is an environment where personal relationships are both taboo and inevitable. For this is what she loved most of all — the simple touch of another, random and intimate and essential.