Tropic of Orange

Written by: Karen Tei Yamashita

Tropic of Orange Book Cover
This fiercely satirical, semifantastical novel ... features an Asian-American television news executive, Emi, and a Latino newspaper reporter, Gabriel, who are so focused on chasing stories they almost don't notice that the world is falling apart all around them. Karen Tei Yamashita's staccato prose works well to evoke the frenetic breeziness and monumental self-absorption that are central to their lives.-Janet Kaye, The New York Times Book Review
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Total feedbacks: 33
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Tropic of Orange Reviews

Dianna Xu
It opens up with a woman sweeping both dead and alive things on the floor, in a pile. The snake is always alive, and the scorpion is always dead.
The house lies right next to the Tropic of Cancer, a liminal space between borders, private/public, blaring past boundaries of race and class all mixed into the Los Angeles News scene.
May Ryan
This is the kind of postmodern literature that I've grown to love, especially the structure and the way the characters connect. Fascinating story, interweaving plotlines, excellent commentary on racism and government. Tropic of Orange questions stereotypes and relative values of different things to individuals.
Polina
This is a good book to read for research or if you'd like to learn about postmodern transnational fiction. It makes intelligent progressive arguments and contains interesting experimentation with form. However, the characters aren't really fleshed out and I didn't really care about what happens to them. I also found the book quite predictable and repetitive after a while.
Circle K Cycles :: Brazil-Maru :: Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl :: Instructor's Manual t/a Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, second edition :: Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia
Julia
My favorite books are also always my least favorite because they make me feel so inadequate as a writer.

I can't do her story justice, but every detail is so expertly and intricately connected to every other one- and every character is somehow bound to all of the others. It's just such an amazing piece of fiction. It will compel you to read it for as long as your eyes will let you.

Molly
A cool book. Not all the voices are equally compelling, but it's sort of like a postmodern novel version of Mike Davis' City of Quartz.Or maybe, 100 Years of Solitude Meets City of Quartz. The WWF-style showdown in the end between SUPERNAFTA and El Gran Mojado is pretty awesome. I wasn't satisfied with the gender politics, but I never am.
Lupina
A hyperreal postmodern novel, almost to a point of caricature. It tries way too hard, fueling Jameson's critique of postmodernity. You feel lost, as if in one of Borges' maps. But then again, I suppose that is the point.
Amy
it's a symbolically heavy handed and highly biased look at multicultural LA, all under the guise of a magic realist novel. interesting in its assessments of the people of LA at times, but overall it's a biased perspective that doesn't account for over half of the inhabitants of the city.
Michelle
I share the opinion of many other reviewers as far as it concerns this book. Discussing it in my class, I can see all the connections she was trying to make and the arguments she was trying to touch on. However, in the end, it felt overdone and it wasn't a satisfactory read.
William
more closer to three stars, but i stalled out on this book in a major way.read the first 2/3 of the narrative in like two days, then took over a month to try and finish. I think had i read it with a group of people, i would have liked it more.
Jjmarsh
So, uh, I really want to like this book. It hits a lot of the right buttons--L.A., magical realism, the politics of mestizaje, apocalypse--but these buttons are hammered pretty hard and with a heavy hand. That said, subtlety wasn't really the goal here, and there is some real talent on display.
Ke
I was surprised how this book reminded me of the film Crash. Like the film, it provides the reader with an idea of LA's multiculturalism and how unequal socioeconomic conditions can fuel tensions. I don't want to spoil the ending but I would like to say it gets pretty weird.
Laura
I wish Coffeehouse Press got MORE press. They're a good publishing group. Read this book for a class on contemporary American lit. Made me think about social relationships and racism. Interesting stuff. If you liked the movie Crash, you'll probably like this one.
James
I found this book to be confusing. I'm not sure what point, if any, the author was trying to make. Los Angeles did, however, play a very prominent role in the story. However, this book was definitely not worth of the status of 'Best L.A. Novel' and so it is no wonder to me that it is not.
Cindi
Love the multiple perspectives, voices, and use of magical realism. More questions than answers, but I think our speculation on these issues is the point.
Conor
Quite amazing. I think if there was the occasional sixth-star you could give to a book, this one would get it.
Tracy
Amazing. A story of 7 different characters who stories and lives somehow intertwine into an amazing story of magical realism and the mixing of cultures. A must read
Chris
A great post-modern novel. Makes several good points on critisism of border issues and cultural identity.
Gabby Gonzalez
I literally have no idea what I read right now
Alex Robertson
3.5. just wish she could write less hammy dialogue
C├ęcile
Worst book I have ever read in my entire life. I only finished it because I had to read it for university but I didn't enjoy it one bit.
Kelly
I read this in my post-modernism class in college, and it was great. I like a lot of books about Los Angeles (with the exception of anything by Bret Easton Ellis), so this was right up my alley.
Casey Catherine
Don't bother reading. One of the most confusing and difficult books I have ever read, with an undramatic ending. The whole book works up to a poor ending. Not worth anyone's time.
Jenny Zhang
Reminds me a lot of Gabriel Garcia Marquez! Beautiful prose and quips and subleties. Raw yet fantastical. Will be reading again soon!
S N
Pretty convoluted plot. I would almost liken it to an abstract painting. Okay overall.
Stacy
Amazing mix of people and color. Like flipping the channels on the tv or radio...amazing and rich
Julie
I read this book in college and enjoyed it- but I also had a professor to help analyze the main themes. Can get confusing at times, but overall a good read.
Aimee
I read this for school. Interesting, very surreal. definately not something i would have picked up by myself.
Martha Chudy
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and so timely. There isn't any topic that this book doesn't try to cover, and that's mostly to its credit.
A.J.
This is a magical realism book. It is slightly confusing because of that, but it was interesting. There are two different ways to read the book as well. It was a good read.
Cara
An interesting and engaging post modern critique of race, the city of angels, and boarders.
Loulose
Den var bra, anbefalt om man liker realistisk surrealisme(trur det er en kategori, right?)
Elizabeth
Los Angeles magical realism. I loved it. I recommend it highly. Readable, intelligent, compelling, with memorable characters. Read it!
Greg Bem
My head responded interwoven from citrus of experience.
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