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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: 6 x 0.3 x 9 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: #1,671,471 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

"The book is filled with beautiful moments, like shards of broken stained-glass window lying in the dirt. This book will open your eyes to a new way of life and will leave you with haunting images not soon forgotten. A worthy read." -IndieReader

"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 Inside Flap

"Neto told me the residents named the building the Highland, after the street it was built on in downtown Colorado Springs, and that later, in the 70's, some state agency changed it to Pikes Peak Health Horizons. But Neto always referred to it as the House of Order. The place to get your habits straightened out."

One habit Relles "Manito" Ortiz 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:

"I ask, "What did my father think of all this?"
"Well, I say Goddamn. Now I know you're growing, Manito. Now I know you're nearly what a man should be. A man has got to know about his family."
Then he ignores me."

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.

Thirty years earlier, Cordelia Ortiz, family matriarch and "Jefita" explained to her small son Ernesto "Neto," that transients are not men to be admired. "No place in the world will keep men like those," the Jefita warned. "They have no place."  The Jefita's goal was to build a real home for her husband, sons, and fosters.  But Santiago is laconic and unfaithful.  He finds release from the constant scramble for money and long hours at the mill by bullying or ignoring his family, by "throwing palo" with neighborhood women in the garage late at night. It's all part of his vision of manhood, a vision that will both attract and repel the next two generations of Ortiz men.

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.

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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amy Edelman on September 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
Author John Paul Jaramillo's first collection of stories follows three generations of the Ortiz family in their hard and bitter (though beautiful) struggle to survive and prosper on the fringes of American society. The story's arc is largely narrated by Manito Ortiz, a memory collector who is searching for meaning within his own life by digging at his family's roots. Unfortunately for Manito, his only sources of information are small grains hidden within family photographs and a few yellowing newspaper articles. What memories remain are often buried and overshadowed by legend, and reside in the mind of Manito's unreliable, alcoholic uncle, Neto. These legends are recounted (often more flatteringly) by Neto, whose alcoholism drives him from the comfort of all his romantic relationships and lands him in the VA hospital with a terminal prognosis. The older Ortiz generations possess a strong work ethic: laboring from dawn until dark to bring home the meager pay of migrant workers, never refusing a job as too difficult or too dangerous. Shunned by society, the family agitates on society's outskirts in both New Mexico and Colorado, each generation stumbling through alcoholism, drug use, violence and prison. Eventually, it becomes clear that the Ortiz family's legacy can only be salvaged through Manito's own salvation. By the end of THE HOUSE OF ORDER, Manito seems to be making some decisions regarding his own future: to view his past with compassion, to strive to become educated, to nurture a desire to become a better father. Though Jaramillo does not offer closure on any of those counts, one gets the sense that Manito will figure it all out eventually.

Jaramillo's stories are stark and poignant, full of realistic problems caused by poverty, prison, and broken families.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jamiebmusings on June 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was invited to participate in a Novel Publicity tour for a book called The House of Order by John Paul Jaramillo.

Even though the title is mentioned in a sort-of explanation late into the book, I took a totally different meaning from it. The story follows the Ortiz family through the eyes of one Neto Ortiz and the home described is anything but orderly. The parents fight often and the father is a hard man who doesn't care much for what his wife or mother might have to say about something. Add to the fact several of the family members end up in and out of trouble and the dysfunction is mind-boggling. Still, there is a bond between them that is clear.

Jaramillo creates vivid and engaging characters you can't help but either outright dislike or feel for as their story unfolds before your eyes. I found the dynamic between the father and uncle the most interesting; one trying to teach his children the value of working hard, while the other teaches them how to gamble at the track. Despite the father's (or, the Jefe, as they call him) faults, he does have that good quality about him. He wants his children to do the right things and work hard for what they get in life.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes character-driven stories and aren't put off by bad language and mild adult situations.
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More About the Author

John Paul Jaramillo grew up in Southern Colorado but now lives, writes and teaches in Springfield, Illinois. He holds an MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Oregon State University and, currently, works as Professor of English at Lincoln Land Community College. In 2012 his first collection of composite stories The House of Order: Stories was a Latino Book Award Finalist, 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 appeared in the Acentos Review, the Copper Nickel Review and in the Antique Children Arts Journal; Fogged Clarity Arts Journal, InDigest Magazine and Verdad Magazine; Paraphilia Magazine, Sleet Magazine, Palabra, A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art and most recently in Pilgrimage Magazine.