City of Orange

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Pub Date 24 May 2022 | Archive Date 24 Nov 2022
PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons

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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?


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780593422168
PRICE $27.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

In this speculative fiction novel, David Yoon blends suspense, tragedy, and humor to create a sublime and profound, a memorable story that explores what it means to be human, to love, to survive in the face of overwhelming loss. The story is beautiful and compelling as the man explores his surroundings, his memories, and begins to accept the truth of who and where he really is. The story is immersive and the author writes so incredibly that you lose yourself in the world and the character. Much like the character, you learn about his world a little bit at a time. I love the way the story slowly unfolds. 

The character's voice is distinctive and David Yoon builds tension in the smallest details, like finding a way to unlock a water source, or finding a shelter but being uncertain if there are others nearby. David Yoon asks what the End of the World would look like, then proceeds to give a completely unexpected, heartfelt and thoughtful answer. The novel is insightful, wise, and builds upon ideas of loss and grief in a post-apocalyptic world in completely unexpected but profound ways. 

If you love speculative fiction and stories that take risks within a genre, this novel is well worth your time. This was exquisite to read, brilliant and I highly recommend it. It is sublime and profound.

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Happy release week, City of Orange! I LOVED this book, can't remember the last time I felt so excited about something in the science fiction genre. I loved the world and the writing style. I see a lot of reviews that don't agree with me, and I can understand why it isn't being received well by many, but me personally? I really, really, really enjoyed this book. So inventive and impressively crafted.

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Basically: The end of the world can also be the trial of a single soul.

In an odyssey that begins in a post-apocalyptic world, David Yoon maps the intersections of guilt and grief. City of Orange begins much like Octavia E. Butler’s final book, Fledgling, and that is utmost praise for how the writing grabs you. Our POV character awakens in pain, there is something wrong with their head, and they have no idea where they are—only that the world might have ended and they are not safe. In this way, our protagonist, Adam becomes a feral being. His only thoughts are of survival and escaping his agony. His memories are as murky as a drop of ink in an overflowing tub. He can’t quite recall his own face or the faces of his family. The one person who remains intact within his mind is his best friend Byron.

Since we’re inside Adam’s head we only know what he knows. At first, he is lost inside a stream of consciousness, which Yoon writes with quirkiness and a leaning toward scientific curiosity when there is nothing else for Adam to rely on. Yet there is a knot of mysteries that needs to be unraveled and we become as battered by fragments of Adam’s thoughts, bits of his backstory, and his emotional deflections as he is. Then, as his mind slowly comes into focus, we begin to put the pieces of his life together alongside him.

Each of the six acts in the book is centered on a person or a place: The Survivor, The Old Man, The Boy, The Dream House, The Secret Place, and The Ocean (in that order). At each stop, Adam rediscovers some part of himself that sends him further on the quest to wherever he might choose to call home. That is why I call this an Odyssey, it is a Homeric inspired journey back from Adam’s own underworld and we are unsure if he will make it.

“Anyway it had been one of his favorite days, cringe and all. Life was like that.”
–David Yoon, City of Orange

Yoon’s prose is as distinctive as a fingerprint. He has a way of making you lean in, to try to see inside the book to glean what you can. Combined with lifelike humor and the cringy moments required to survive after everything ends, this story will make you smile when you should be tearing up and vice versa.

Although City of Orange is a tad longer than its tension, it is an incisive and clever perspective on grief, guilt, and what a personal apocalypse looks like from the inside.

In the End: If you are a fan of literary fiction or literary science-fiction, City of Orange is a distorted dystopian that you’ll enjoy putting back together.

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A beautiful and sometimes haunting look at what drives our decisions and what connects us as humans.

Adam wakes up in a desolate landscape with no memory of how he arrived. As he explores and attempts to adapt to his present situation, we are given a look into the mind of a person grieving for the past, even when they don’t quite know what that held. David Yoon presents a beautiful character study while keeping the reader guessing time and again. I really loved every moment of this book and didn’t mind that most of it is spent alone with Adam, the main character. In some books I find my interest waning after so long alone with one character but not City of Orange.

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I thoroughly enjoyed City of Orange. I’ve become a huge fan of David Yoon after first reading Version Zero and I was so thrilled to get an opportunity to read his latest book. City of Orange reminded me a bit of the Maze Runner series, which I also really enjoyed. I have nothing but great things to say about this book, it was one of the easiest five star ratings I’ve given so far this year. I also really love the cover art. I think it’s very eye-catching and I’m excited to see it on shelves this summer.

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