2012 fiction winner

Daniel Orozco | Orientation and Other Stories


About the Author
Daniel Orozco is the author of Orientation and Other Stories (Faber and Faber). His work has appeared in the Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Idaho.

About the Book
Orientation and Other Stories unfolds and reveals the hidden lives and moral philosophies of bridge painters and cops, of office temps and warehouse workers, of men and women isolated by obesity or shyness, or the tedium of political exile in Paraguay. A new employee's first-day office tour includes disclosure of his co-workers' most private thoughts and desires; love blooms between two officers in the impartially worded pages of a police blotter; a paint crew on the Golden Gate Bridge initiates its newest member; and a massive earthquake shakes free and exposes the consciousness of the entire state of California — the dramas of life lived day-to-day, disrupted by a day like no other.

Critics / Reviews

“The stories in Daniel Orozco's debut collection convey a sense of workplace alienation that would make Karl Marx cringe . . . A treat.”  — John Williams, The New York Times Book Review

“Precisely written, deeply human stories."  — Kirkus Reviews

"[A] rewarding collection infused with wonderfully wrought landscapes and telling glimpses of alienation . . . This collection has been a long time coming, and it's been worth the wait."  — Publishers Weekly

“Orientation holds a cracked Barthelme-meets-Kafka-esque mirror to this twenty-first-century American life.” 
— Megan O’Grady, Vogue

“Orientation is a seriously good book—beautifully written, rigorous, funny, brokenhearted, smart, and without a hint of pretense. Orozco has achieved that rare thing, his own prose rhythm, and the truth of it is a pleasure to the ear.”  — Adam Haslett, author of Union Atlantic

“I became a fan of Daniel Orozco when I first read the story ‘Orientation’ back in the 1990s. I’ve been waiting eagerly for this collection ever since, and I’m so grateful to have it in my hands at last. Orozco is a vital American writer, and this book is cause for celebration.”  — Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

“At a time when trivial tales are often expanded and diluted into book-length narratives, Daniel Orozco’s Orientation brings hope for the return of serious short-form storytelling. The stories in this collection make one marvel at the bigness of their creator’s mind—each of them has the depth and scope of a novel. Orozco has both the relentlessness and the compassion of a truly great writer.”  — Yiyun Li, author of The Vagrants

“This book brims with big, deadly surprises and sharp, hallucinatory images . . . Orientationcontains nine unsettling, boundary-crossing, and exquisitely-fashioned stories—and I won't be surprised when it becomes a classic.”
— Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector and Memory Wall