City of Orange by David Yoon: Sublime and Profound

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? 

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. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 can openers

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