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City of Orange
Cover of City of Orange
City of Orange
Borrow Borrow

A man wakes up in an unknown landscape, injured and alone.

 

   He used to live in a place called California, but how did he wind up here with a head wound and a bottle of pills in his pocket?

    He navigates his surroundings, one rough shape at a time. Here lies a pipe, there a reed that could be carved into a weapon, beyond a city he once lived in.

   He could swear his daughter’s name began with a J, but what was it, exactly?

    Then he encounters an old man, a crow, and a boy—and realizes that nothing is what he thought it was, neither the present nor the past.

   He can’t even recall the features of his own face, and wonders: who am I?

    Harrowing and haunting but also humorous in the face of the unfathomable, David Yoon’s City of Orange is a novel about reassembling the things that make us who we are, and finding the way home again.

A man wakes up in an unknown landscape, injured and alone.

 

   He used to live in a place called California, but how did he wind up here with a head wound and a bottle of pills in his pocket?

    He navigates his surroundings, one rough shape at a time. Here lies a pipe, there a reed that could be carved into a weapon, beyond a city he once lived in.

   He could swear his daughter’s name began with a J, but what was it, exactly?

    Then he encounters an old man, a crow, and a boy—and realizes that nothing is what he thought it was, neither the present nor the past.

   He can’t even recall the features of his own face, and wonders: who am I?

    Harrowing and haunting but also humorous in the face of the unfathomable, David Yoon’s City of Orange is a novel about reassembling the things that make us who we are, and finding the way home again.

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Excerpts-
  • From the cover One
     
    He awakes with his eyes closed.
     
    He senses light all around him and is reluctant to expose his sight to the brightness. His head pulses with pain. He lies on his back, half-sunken in the earth. The back of his head feels crushed. It can be slowly leaking blood for all he knows, hot and thick like dark oil sinking into the sand.
     
    Sand. This is sand, he thinks. He makes a fist with his right hand, idly plays with it. Warm and fine. Glue it to card stock and you get sandpaper. Fire it up and you get glass. Mix it with limestone and you can sculpt buildings and bridges out of it.
     
    You can build a whole civilization.
     
    His eyes slit open to a blinding sun. It takes a second for him to comprehend. There's a blue sky, a white sun in it. There's a concrete wall floating above him, enormous and massive and silent.
     
    Wait. Not a wall. He grits his teeth, lifts his head an inch. The pain changes shape in that moment. His head drips with it. His eyes steady.
     
    It's some kind of bridge. Concrete, bleached white in the sun, spanning a wide trench carved from the same colorless material. An inverted trapezoidal channel. River? Riverbed? Lying asleep in a bed, but a river?
     
    Oh please let his head not be bleeding. He settles it back down again into its divot, as if sand can stop the flow.
     
    He sweeps his right hand back and forth. Now with the left hand. This is called something. Except in snow. Snow angels? When he was little, he and a bunch of other kids had swept out angels in frosty winter mountains somewhere. He remembered he had to go super bad, but he was so fascinated by the snow that he'd held it, not like the others who tried to write their names in steaming yellow. It'd been a field trip for city children unfamiliar with cold weather. Junior high school, holy shit. What letter did the name of the school start with?
     
    A? B? C? D?
     
    Elemeno-pee?
     
    And his name? This particular individual lying here in the sand. Maybe dying here in the sand.
     
    He tests the dead batteries of his memory. He can remember a few fundamentals without much effort: These are called fingers, this is sand, this is his head. This is Earth, he is male, he lives in a place called California, USA, planet Earth, the Milky Way, the Universe, da dada dada. But anything beyond those basic facts remains out of view.
     
    That's the sun up there.
     
    There is the sky.
     
    Here is a blank river of concrete a hundred meters wide.
     
    Nothing else.


     
    Two
     
    When he does stand, it's like hoisting a corpse with puppet strings.
     
    First he props up his torso with his elbows. Then he pushes off the sand. That alone is an excruciating project. Next his legs, folding up, then his arms extending so that he can now sit upright. Another moment, eyes squeezed shut with pain, before rising to a full standing position.
     
    His mind is a flickering television screen, a storm of digital static occasionally breaking to reveal things he can't see coming. He wishes he could turn it off. He touches the back of his head. Why am I touching the back of my head? he wonders. To find a power button?
     
    No, to check for signs of trauma. Someone taught him this once, called it survival first aid. Hit your head, run through the steps, find out if you are a survivor. First: is there blood?
     
    With dread, he notices his hair feels wet.
     
    He doesn't want to look at his hand.
     
    So he observes his surroundings instead. Ob-zurvz. Sir-roundings. This is a good...
About the Author-
  • David Yoon is the New York Times bestselling author of Frankly in Love, Super Fake Love Song, and for adult readers, Version Zero and City of Orange. He’s a William C. Morris Award finalist and an Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature Honor book recipient. He's co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. He's also co-founder of Yooniverse Media, which currently has a first look deal with Anonymous Content for film/TV development. David grew up in Orange County, California, and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, novelist Nicola Yoon, and their daughter.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 28, 2022
    Yoon (Version Zero) explores the nature of memory and reality in this atmospheric character study. A man wakes in a desert wasteland with no memory of who he is, where he is, or how he got there. As his survival instincts kick in, they bring shards of memories of his life before, including the painful realization that he has, or had, a wife and daughter. He explores his surroundings with extreme caution, discovering a small shelter with food, dozens of totems made from stacked stones, and a deserted condo containing a corpse and an clumsily constructed paper Christmas tree. As his memories seep back slowly, bringing increasing mental anguish, his understanding of his strange surroundings grows through interactions, real or imagined, with crows, an old man, and a young boy. The story moves slowly, but Yoon finds the tension in the smallest of acts—like heating up a can of soup—and builds suspense by teasing out information about the world, forcing readers to question everything. Fans of The Martian will enjoy this new take on the struggle to survive in an unfamiliar land. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writer’s House.

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