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Orange: The Diary of an Urban Surrealist Paperback – February 4, 2009

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Janis is an award-winning investigative reporter and the founder of Investigative Voice, an online investigative journalism web site. As a staff writer for the Baltimore Examiner (and one of only a handful who worked at the paper for its entire existence) he won a Maryland- Delaware-DC Press Association award in 2008 for investigative reporting on the high rate of unsolved murders in Baltimore. In 2009 he won a MDDC Press Association award for best series for his articles on the murders of prostitutes. He is the author of three books. This Dream Called Death, a novel which explores the cultural after shocks of mass incarceration by positing a world where people are imprisoned for the content of their dreams, and Orange, the Diary of an Urban Surrealist, which follows the descent of drug dealer pushing a substance that gives white people soul He also co-wrote "Why Do We Kill?" with Baltimore City Homicide detective Kelvin Sewell
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (February 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439224021
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439224021
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,016,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

STEPHEN JANIS is an award winning investigative journalist whose work has won acclaim in both print and television. As the Senior Investigative Reporter for the now defunct Baltimore Examiner he won two Maryland DC Delaware Press Association Awards for his work on the number of unsolved murders in Baltimore and the killings of prostitutes. His in-depth work on the city's zero tolerance policing policy garnered an NAACP's president's award. Later he founded Investigative Voice, an award winning web site that is the subject of the upcoming documentary Fit To Print. As an Investigative Producer for WBFF/Fox 45 he has one three successive Capital Emmys, two for best Investigative Series and one for Outstanding Historical/Cultural piece. He is the author two books on the philosophy of policing Why Do We Kill?: The Pathology of Murder in Baltimore, You Can't Stop Murder: Truths About Policing in Baltimore and Beyond, and two novels This Dream Called Death, and Orange: The Diary of an Urban Surrealist. His teaches journalism at Towson University.


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Format: Paperback
As a student of urban geography, I seek out alternative visions of cities, especially cities that are in a state of decay. Stephen Janis took me to a place in the city that I've never been before, a place I thought I'd never want to go. In this part of the city, desperate people squat in tattered apartments, the moral economy is polluted with substances that can change the horrid reality of destitution, and the cracked streets swallow up the sacred and the profane. I found myself inside the mind of a man who dwells in all the sickening beauty, although he doesn't know how he got there or why he's haunted by his father and a thick, greedy woman named Paula. In this midst of his days crushing up pills into sweet cocktails and sleeping through life, his vision and experience are veiled in mystery and pointlessness... until he meets a skeletal woman named Sarah and a professor who open his eyes to Orange. The dark hallucination bleeds into a narrative that begins to unravel the abstract nature of human experience (of the urban variety). The surrealism folds over the narrative in a tantalizing way, and Janis provides the slightest hint of irony that lends weight to the disturbing blankness of the protagonist. The climactic last pages of this book brought me through a violent, rhythmic halt that forced me to question my own self-realization and search for my soul.
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Format: Paperback
This book reels you in from the very first sentence and hooks you for the entirety.

The author grabs your attention with a thorough first-person account of drug-riddled life in a dreary urban environment; but as the narrator experiences, so does the reader. You begin lost but, with the immediate mentions of Orange, uncontrollably curious. I read the book from cover to cover in one sitting, itching for more at the end of each chapter.

The gritty realism gives the reader a vivid account of what life must be like for the bottom rung of society, the ones who are desperate enough to truly do anything. The main character's everyday life is stunning, but the first-person nonchalance adds an interesting dynamic. As common as trips to the grocery store or small talk at the water cooler are for typical people, exposure to sophisticated drug peddling operations and transvestite prostitutes is simply a part of life for the main character.

Not to mention there is a fantastic surprise ending to this novel. The final chapter caps the dangerous hardships of the main character brilliantly.

From start to finish, I found it nearly impossible to put this book down. If you're looking for a powerful and gripping read, Orange could not be any more perfect.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The movement of the images in this book race by at an incredible speed. Lyrical, malevolent and beautiful descriptions of a city that never was, with a protagonist that is never named, selling a drug that never existed. Orange is breathtakingly surreal and yet has a strong narrative with offerings both hilarious and philisophical. Magically real, intelligent but not overly clever. Orange is a fast read with images that linger, haunt and delight. A book that surprises you with each sucessive read.
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Format: Paperback
Length: 1:28 Mins
Here's a video that will give you a good sense of the book.
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