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The House of Order: Stories

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  • Posted July 28, 2012

    John Paul Jaramillo's first collection of short stories is purpo

    John Paul Jaramillo's first collection of short stories is purposely composite and minimalistic, setting up a metaphoric "fractured" form that is echoed in the thematic arcs about three generations of the broken Ortiz family. Manito, a semi-orphaned young Chicano growing up in southern Colorado, is featured in many of the stories. Manito attempts to discover what it means to be a man by studying his older relatives and listening to their stories, mostly filtered through his "unreliable" Tio Neto. But which version of his family members is the correct one? From his Abuelo, Manito learns that a man works hard and takes pride in work that brings in money to support a family. But Manito's Abuelo is also Neto's Jefe, who taught by threats, slaps, shouting, and humiliation. Despite the harsh realities, Jaramillo brings readers glimpses of light. We see the strength of Manito's Abuela Cordelia. We see the depth of Cordelia's mother love, which nurtures more frequently than it dismisses, and ultimately influences Manito's truer self--the young man who yearns to save as well as be saved--to emerge from the darker Ortiz legacy.

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