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Orientation: And Other Stories

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  944 Ratings  ·  147 Reviews
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.

Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published May 24th 2011)
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La Petite Américaine
Update: 12/12/13: This book is so goddamn brilliant that I'm reading it again. I can't find either of my paper copies, which means I lost my signed copy :(, so I just downloaded it... It's good to spend money on amazing books.

As I was buying this book for one of my grad school classes, I didn't expect Orozco to be a good writer, and certainly not an exceptional one. I was more or less convinced that my purchase was to fund the writing career of someone who was likely a friend of the professor.
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If George Saunders, Stuart Dybak and Franz Kafka combined to make a short story love baby progidy, this creature might write stories as beautiful as Daniel Orozco. His talents are revealed in the variety of tones and voices in this collection - from the hilarious to the page-turning-ripping-yarn to the downright heartbreaking. Hunker down with your favorite beverage of choice and let a master of the form show you why short fiction is so amazing.
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
3.5 i will give him. though that is probably blasphemy to his side. i mean it could be 5 stars, easily, but like i said to others, this is no Heathcock and HIS first collection Volt: Stories

or mike young's first collection Look! Look! Feathers
or lorrie moore Like Life
or the incredible 1st collection of julie orringer How to Breathe Underwater: Stories
but with all that said, there is a george saunders sadness and fuckeduppedness about Orozco's characters, and it's all about them; not wifey, not t
Ethel Rohan
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt this thrilling sense as I read Daniel Orozco’s debut story story collection, Orientation, that Orozco was a rule-breaker, risk-taker, and rebel craftsman.

Orozco’s nine stories read respectively as: A new employee’s office orientation told in monologue; four portraits of insatiable hunger and strange desires; disturbing snapshots from the life of a long-distance runner; the last, horrific chronicles of The Presidente-in-Exile; a startling and moving police blotter report; a series of ill-f
May 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rumpus-books
I can certainly see the talent and value in this author, and I think that I probably would have liked these stories better if I'd read them individually--meaning, if I'd happened upon one in Story or Mid-American Review, I probably would have thought it clever and liked it. All together, though, they were just too much. Too clever. Too similar. Maybe too hip for me. When I saw that one of the pieces was published in McSweeney's, I should have known...(and that was the only story I didn't finish) ...more
Taryn Hipp
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at the library because that cover caught my eye. I decided to check it out after seeing it was a collection of short stories, thinking maybe that would hold my interest longer than a novel. And it did, oh how it did! The writing in this book is magical & raw, at times shocking & sad. I absolutely loved it, even the parts I felt I hated because of the subject. It stirred something inside of me over & over. This is the first book I have read on 2013 & I feel like i ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a rare occasion to read a collection of stories as fine as all of these. Yes, all. 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
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jenny Shank
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Loneliness and Laughter: Daniel Orozco’s ‘Orientation”
In this long-awaited debut, characters are more tethered to their jobs than to other people.

By Jenny Shank, 6-06-11

Idaho-based writer Daniel Orozco‘s first book, Orientation and Other Stories (Faber and Faber, 162 pages, $23), journeys to so many different places—from life among the perpetual painters of the Golden Gate Bridge, to Paraguay, where the deposed president of a Latin-American country lives i
Peter Derk
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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'
Cynthia Peña
I only read "Orientation." Perhaps I will find time to read the rest of the book in the future.

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. They're too real.

May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Tanya Patrice
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, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is not a short/story book. this is a lesson on the poetics of form. orozco is simply great!
Charles Xu
I can't quite put my finger on how I feel about Orientation. On one hand, Orozco is exceptional at making us FEEL. 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 ...more
Nathaniel Winters
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel tells very strange stories. His mind goes to unusual places but I can dig it.
Lynn Li
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really clever short stories that make no sense yet so much sense at the same time.
Melanie Ullrich
The first and title story, Orientation, was perfect! If anything, make the time to read the first 10 pages. You'll giggle.
Really quite enjoyable
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John Luiz
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
Paul Cockeram
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Orozco writes about work, true, but what distinguishes this collection is the way he immerses himself into human beings and their occupations. The title story is an instant classic, widely and deservedly anthologized. Yet "The Bridge," "Officers Weep," "I Run Every Day," and "Temporary Stories" also examine characters surviving the workday, alive in the workplace. Orozco knows well how work brings together a captive, random assortment of different personalities and requires them to cooper ...more
Sep 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
If this book suffers from one thing, it's a lack of cohesion. Which maybe shouldn't be an issue with a story collection; others might praise its polyphony, its genre-bending whatever, its diversity. For me, it was tough to really dig in, to really hear what Orozco was trying to say.

The first story ("Orientation," published fifteen years ago in the Seattle Review) is the best. I love a successful second-person story; they're hard to come by, and this one works. The rest are sort of all over the p
May 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This dazzling collection of short stories impressed me more than any other I've read probably since I read Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, a modern classic, a few years ago. I fear that without the weighty subject of Vietnam to carry it, Daniel Orozco's collection may not have the staying power O'Brien's does, and that Orientation will fall through the cracks. That would be a shame.

Each of these nine stories has something to offer, some off-kilter take on everyday life, a vivid re-imagini
Larry H
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two police officers who find themselves falling in love, documented in the pages of a police blotter. A group of bridge painters. A temporary worker who moves from long-term assignment to long-term assignment. An exiled dictator. A morbidly obese, housebound man. The characters that populate Daniel Orozco's great story collection, Orientation and Other Stories, aren't the usual characters around whom stories are based. And that makes each one all the more interesting and captivating.

I really enj
Suad Shamma
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2014
I have been waiting a long time to read this book. In fact, it must have been on my list of to-reads for many years now, until I finally succumbed and ordered it online, losing all hope of ever finding it at a bookstore.

There's always the risk of losing interest half way through, when reading a short stories book. I usually try to avoid them, unless I know and have read previous works by the author. With this one though, the description intrigued me, the writer intrigued me, the title intrigued
Melissa Mcdaniel
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
It's been a while since I've read a book of short stories. Maybe that's why I devoured this book so quickly, so passionately. Like most people, I discovered Orozco through the popularity of his short story, "Orientation." After reading the story three times, I had to buy his full collection. Orozco's writing is the kind I like best: immersive, rich in detail, and unpretentious.

Although I liked the collection as a whole, I did not like all of these stories. The President-in-Exile of "Somoza's Dre
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading the first short story in this collection I thought I had the book pegged, funny stories with a bit of a sardonic edge to them. A host of slightly odd ducks in a world where things were not quite what they seemed. A little like George Saunders.

However, after the humorous first story things got a little darker. The stories were similar to Saunders in as much as they often had rather neurotic, introverted protagonists and often were set in a world that it just that tiny bit stranger t
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
“The body was a temple, she said, and we could all benefit from sprucing up our temples” (46).
“In the dressing room, his fingers glide through a kelp of neckties…” (62).
“She burrows away, deep into the bedding. Body heat purls off her” (62).
“Dinorah had numerous names for him that ran the gamut of her moods: Big Bear, Big Bull, cabron pinche, cabron Cocksucker Dog, My Prince, My Light, My One True Love” (71).
“…the puling of a ship’s whistle on the river” (72).
“(For Cerbero and Paladino are neute
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty remarkable book of stories. I'm not a huge fan of every story here-- some, like the first/ title story isn't even much of a story as much as it is a trailer of sorts for the book-- but the collection itself, from that panoramic opener to the companion story, "Temporary Stories" or the last story, "Shakers," which really does complete a full strophe that also closes the book, reading this is pretty breathtaking.

Orozco's focus is pretty limited-- this is a collection that is very
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Chaos Reading: Orientation by Daniel Orozco 4 19 Jul 18, 2014 04:44AM  
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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 publications such as Harpers Magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story, McSweeneys, Ecotone, and Story Quarterly. He was awarded a 2006 NEA fellowship in fiction, and was a finalist for a 2006 National Magazine Award in fiction. A former Ste ...more
More about Daniel Orozco...

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