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Max Apple
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The Oranging of America and Other Stories

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  106 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
With this, his famous inaugural collection of stories, Max Apple dives into the mainstream of American culture, and his unfailingly wry depictions of the forces that drive this great nation (greed, lust, perfection, ice cream) make his stories exciting, frightening, and eternally new.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 30th 1981 by Penguin Books (first published 1976)
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Nicole
Much of this seems to work the same way the magical realism works: something is made concrete and literal, real figures and events are mixed with fiction, things are taken absolutely seriously in a way that shows them to be ridiculous. But it's about america, so it feels more familiar to me, and yet also much more disorienting and odd.

I think the two most prevalent and interesting motifs in this light are the appearance of historical figures and, oddly, food. Or perhaps not oddly, as the strang
...more
Steven
Sep 18, 2008 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Published in 1976, the ten stories in this collection will find readers among those who enjoy stories of the early T. C. Boyle (which were published ten years later). And if you are a fan of George Saunders, he really has nothing on the early Max Apple, so Saunders fans should definitely seek out this hard to find collection.
Llopin
Apr 22, 2010 Llopin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Mr. Apple seems to be interested, particularly, on: a) the USA, b) businesses and c) food (no pun intented, given his name). Carverian love stories get tangled with the joys of profoundly american postmodernism. That is, remarkable interest given on historical figures, seminal cultural icons and peculiar, funny situations. Writing is mostly excellent and hilarious at times, even if some stories don't go anywhere (a problem also shared with TC Boyle, to whom someone here compared to Apple), you c ...more
Gary
Jan 10, 2016 Gary rated it liked it
(3.5 stars)

In this short story collection, Max Apple take popular icons and refracts their universes so that their stories become a little bent from the ones we know. Howard Johnson, the restaurant/hotel maven, gets caught up in cryogenics. The charm of Gerald Ford must be combined with the consumption of a friend's doughnuts for him to rise to power. A "Let's Make a Deal"-type game show raises its contestants to such frenzy that their momentum carries them through even when the host is shot.

It'
...more
Ruth
Mar 16, 2014 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
I can't really say I read this book, rather I had it read to me. I can't remember what caused this reversal of roles as it is usually me who reads aloud, but never mind.

Casting my mind back to where I was while listening I can say that it must have been between 1998 and 2005. I remember not being terribly impressed, and yet I still can recall the title story, probably because of my fascination with Howard Johnson's as a kid.

Now, flipping through to see if anything triggers a memory, I see that w
...more
Amy
May 14, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories seems to be most interested in the concept of "America" and weird characters that have become normal archetypes present-day. My favorite story was "Vegetable Love" about a man who meets a woman that is a new agey extreme vegetarian, and while they fall in love, he begins to lose an insane amount of weight, and then loses his sanity when she abruptly leaves him. There are Cuban baseball players, a professor who makes and lives off his own yogurt recipe, truckers, ...more
Jenny
Jan 03, 2014 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To preface: Apple taught me creative writing during college so I'm obviously going to be a bit biased. But besides the fact that some of the language in these stories are a bit dated and that he reads kind of like any white male author from this time period, his writing is still impeccable. Between the perfectly conceived details and the rhythm of words, I found all the elements of fantastic writing that he had gently tried to teach us. Really well done.
Ruby Hollyberry
I loved Roommates and I love Gootie, but these fictional stories are worthless. Apparently the guy cannot write fiction, or couldn't at the time of this collection's publication. Hey, lots of people write great memoirs and biographical stuff and terrible fiction. Natalie Goldberg and Anne Lamott come to mind immediately! I love their nonfiction but their fiction totally sucks. He can feel in good company.
Oliver Bateman
Mar 31, 2010 Oliver Bateman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the craftsmanship of all these stories is superb, only half ("Noon," "My Real Estate," "The Yogurt of Vasirin Keforovsky") achieve any sort of emotional transcendence. More intriguing than challenging, The Oranging of America isn't a must-read but is a worthwhile one--especially for fans of modern short fiction.
Rachel
Dec 13, 2007 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I looooved this book in high school. It's a compilation of short stories. My favorite was about the man who turns vegetarian for his girlfried who subsequently leaves him.
Joe
Oct 14, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Half of these 10 stories are superb, and the rest are still worth reading. If you like the obtuseness of George Saunders, this book is recommended.
Alan
Dec 09, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
1981/2 diary: Neat stories - black hosed girls on roller skates, gas stations, real estate, rags-to-riches.

Ken Moraff
Jun 17, 2013 Ken Moraff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A "must read" for anyone who likes odd, quirky historical novels. I loved this book.
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