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The House of Order: Stories Paperback – December 17, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Anaphora Literary Press (December 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937536165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937536169
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,071,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The House of Order is an enticing read that shouldn't be overlooked for those looking for a down to earth short fiction collection."--Midwest Book Review

"Jaramillo is writing about working in Southern Colorado farm fields, driving and drinking beer and smoking pot; visiting family members in the state penitentiary; about tattooed pregnant girls, dirty kids in laundromats and their desperate mothers-and the pain-filled list goes on, back through several decades. What saves these stories is the grace in which they are written."-Mary Jean Porter,

"Each story in Jaramillo's collection stands alone, but together they make a powerful combination, with vivid descriptions, realistic characters, and strong emotions that will make readers cry, laugh, cringe and hope." --Latina Book Club

"If you like writing that is unpredictable and makes you think, this collection is for you.  These short stories have characters with complex, sometimes depressing, but always fascinating lives." 2013 Top Ten "New" Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)

2013 International Latino Book Award Finalist--The Mariposa Award--Best First Book--Fiction

"Raw and highly emotional at times, Jaramillo's stories give a realistic look in to the lives of his characters as he presents short vignettes that hint at a deeper family saga. His style is easy to read and his concise wording retains a surprising amount of detail. All in all, The House of Order is a compelling set of stories and should Jaramillo continue to present such fantastic storytelling, there is no doubt he will gain many new readers." --San Francisco Book Review

From the Back Cover

"These stories find John Paul Jaramillo hitting his stride as an acute observer and chronicler of hard and valuable lives. The writing conveys great warmth and understanding. This is a career to watch." -Tracy Daugherty, author of One Day the Wind Changed

"Besides the razor-sharp writing which brings even those characters whom we meet only briefly vividly and memorably to life, what compelled me was my affection and concern for the narrator, who sets out to record the stories of his elders, and through them, to understand the forces that have shaped and directed his own experience. The result is a collection of stories that holds together like a shattered vessel, whose fragments have been gathered and expertly glued. Manito himself, battered by drink and drugs and the abuses of combat, barely holds together sometimes -- but even at his lowest and darkest, the impulse remains in him to comfort and assist. It's this that saves him, and that sets this collection apart -- and above, in my opinion -- less forgiving depictions of people struggling to take control of their lives." -Jennifer C. Cornell, author of Departures

More About the Author

John Paul Jaramillo grew up in Southern Colorado but now lives, writes and teaches in Springfield, Illinois. He earned his MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Oregon State University and, currently, holds the position of Professor of English at Lincoln Land Community College. In 2012 his first collection of composite stories was published by Anaphora Literary Press, and 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.

His writing has been featured in the Acentos Review, the Copper Nickel Review as well as in the Antique Children Arts Journal; in Fogged Clarity Arts Journal, InDigest Magazine and Verdad Magazine; Paraphilia Magazine, Sleet Magazine and in Palabra, A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art and Fast Forward Press' Flash Fiction Anthology.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Short stories are hard to review so it's very rare that I feel intrigued enough to accept a review copy. The House of Order by John Paul Jaramillo certainly had me interested from its artwork so I decided to take a chance. (Judging a book by its cover? Guilty in this case I'm afraid!)

The stories seem to take the part of part grim memoir, part macabre folklore, part difficult recollections. Manita Ortiz endeavours to piece together a clear picture of his family's past but - as is so often the case with family history - finds that it is difficult to sort through the truth, the embellished truth and the outright lies.

There are dark moments in these stories and - as the cover suggests - this is not a happy go-lucky book. However, this is strong and emotive writing, which pulls you in to the stories and leaves you thinking about them long after you've finished each one. The stories alone stand up to scrutiny but this is a case in which the whole is certainly greater than the sum of the parts: the full work is an excellent read and perfectly enjoyable in one indulgent sitting.

As someone who is neither American, nor particularly familiar with the landscapes and cultures described in the book, I was impressed by how deeply Jaramillo drew me into his work. One reviewer described it as `Bleak beauty'. I really couldn't put it any better myself.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation and all views are my own.**
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Format: Paperback
The House of Order is a collection of stories about the dysfunctional family of Relles "Manito" Ortiz told by different members of the family, grandparents, uncles and aunts. The way this story was written was at first hard for me to grasp but after a few stories I was engrossed in the story of this very poor family. From when the characters were little to where they are flawed adults the stories bounce back and forth . There is lots of rough language and circumstances but this all contributes to the life that these people live. Harsh, sometimes sad but often funny. I especially loved the Jefe and Jefita,grandparents, that made me laugh more than once although I was not too crazy about how some of the men treated the women but that is the way it was.. unfortunately. A very interesting collection of stories for sure. If you love a raw and gritty family story then this is for you...
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Format: Paperback
3.5 of 5 stars

House of Order may be one of the more gripping, interesting and unusual collections of short stories I have ever read. I have to admit, it took me a little while to "get into" the book, as the MC, Manito, uses quite a bit of Spanish in the stories. It has been far too long since I have read any Spanish, so that held me at arms length for a bit.

Once I got past the feeling of being on the outside looking in, I was able to really sink myself into these short tales as narrated by Manito's uncle, Neto.

John Paul Jaramillo paints a bleak, but vivid picture of the harshness of Hispanic life after the steel industry closes down. I really like the style he uses -- a minimalistic approach as it were, telling and showing us so much with so few words. He holds nothing back, making sure to show us the brutality of the lives they lived. We see the Ortiz family struggle with drugs, alcohol, religion and familial abuse.

At only 108 pages, the stories are short and to the point, but even with their brevity, they speak volumes about what it was like to grow up in that harsh environment, and I really felt like I had a much better understanding of the Hispanic male psyche by the time I finished the last page. I would warn that this is not what I would consider a "happily ever after" type of book. I found myself a bit broody when I was finished -- as some of the truths and realities expressed in the book are just that heartbreaking.

I think of all the stories (or chapters), my favorite would me "Little Blue Box". The story had me laughing out loud and my boyfriend wondering what the heck I was reading that had me so entertained.
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Format: Paperback
John Paul Jaramillo introduces his readers to a series of short stories set in real-life situations with a brush of Latino culture. In Rabbit Story, the first of sixteen tales, Manito speaks with his Tio Neto about family--this discussion, however, is not a traditional one. Manito recalls how Neto has talked about his Jefe and his sexual encounters with women in the area.

Manito asks if the story Neto is going to tell is about one of the women and Neto's Jefe, and as it turns out, it both is and it's not. Rabbit Story describes how Neto had to crawl under the house and catch his Jefe's escaped hares. While Neto does not go into much detail, based on the context of the story, there is a great deal of similarity between the hiding rabbits and the women Neto's Jefe slept with, and though the rabbits belong to Neto's Jefe, it is Neto who must capture them.

On page nine, Neto "expected to find one of his Jefe's girlfriends" when he spied on his Jefe after dark. Instead, one night, he commanded to wake up and go into the crawl space to find the missing animals. Neto's Jefe snaps, "Goddamn it, boy. I'm telling you to do it. Do you want to be a man, Neto? Do you?" (page 11). He admits that he did not want to be a man, but that he also did not want to wake his Jefita, and so he went into the crawl space under his Jefe's direction (page 11).

Entering the crawlspace is an allegory for Neto beginning the transition into manhood. The crawlspace is described as "a 16" wide black hole," on page eleven, and Neto finds the courage to go inside, representing his first entry into a woman.
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