The House of Order ($15, ISBN: 978-1-937536-
#6 on the 2013 Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read) List
The House of Order presents a stark vision of American childhood and family, set in Southern Colorado and New Mexico. The collection of fiction follows the character of Relles "Manito" Ortiz. One habit Manito acquires from Tio Neto and his dead father’s family is the ability to push down pain and emotion. Abandoned by his mother and living with his Abuelos and Tio Neto, who’s currently between wives, Manito does not so much come of age in these sixteen composite short stories as he comes to terms with his family "crash sites," which stretch across at least three states, as far away as Vietnam, and that follow the Ortiz family over fifty years. Some of the stories are Manito’s, told in first person. The others he has to pull from his family, usually his Tio Neto. Manito grows up with little family context, unable to sort myth from fact, and abuse from love. He understands that being in a family is not necessarily the same thing as belonging to a family.
Southern Colorado’s Huérfano County infects the area, hangs metaphorically over the Ortiz family as isolation and abandonment. Neto explains to Manito that where they live, "deserted" means many things:
"It means losing a ride out to the lanes for work in the onion fields. Quitting school to work and contribute to the mortgage. Ignitions that won’t fire and friends who won’t come around.... Fathers who die."
The Ortiz family stories presented in "The House of Order" reflect heartbreak and bleakness, but they also mirror strength and resiliency. Manito does not simply recover painful memories from his family; he begins to re-envision them. It is how Manito finds his own way to manhood and a glimpse of life outside of the county of orphans.
JOHN PAUL JARAMILLO grew up in the Southern Colorado steel town of Pueblo, Colorado and earned his MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Oregon State University. He is now an Associate Professor of English. His stories have appeared in several journals. In 2013, the editors of Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its 2013 top 10 new Latino authors.
ANAPHORA LITERARY PRESS:
has published over 50 creative and non-fiction books. Among these is Pennsylvania Literary Journal, a tri-annual journal, which has published best-selling authors like Cinda Williams Chima and Carrie Ryan. It is a member of IBPA and CELJ.
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