Yoon sets his new work in an apocalyptic landscape, where the protagonist wakes up solitary, injured, and almost completely bereft of memories. As he frantically searches for food and water, he encounters a young lad and starts to realize that things aren't what they seem.
[An] intimate self-portrait ... A powerful meditation on destruction, loss and healing ... A beautiful novel about Southern California. The prose is swift and luminous, the dialogue is note-perfect, and the flashback descriptions of modern Los Angeles are beautifully written ... Very few postapocalyptic novels have the literary qualities of this one ... Yoon is willing to ask what 'the End of the World' really means — and provide the reader with a thoughtful, heartfelt answer.
Yoon manages to imbue...small activities with dramatic tension that works in two very different ways. First, there is the horror in recognizing looming existential threats: death ... Second, and rather unexpectedly, the sequences are sprinkled with gallows humor ... City of Orange is a fast-paced read, and Yoon’s ability to lighten the mood keeps it from becoming as dread-inducing as some end-of-the-world novels can be. While it does have a big twist some readers will see coming, the novel works in part because obfuscation of that twist isn’t the book’s main concern. That honor belongs to the eternal question, relevant to both the apocalypse and everyday life, of how we’re supposed to go on when living seems impossible in the face of all that has been lost.
City of Orange works as a character study, seesawing back and forth between fractured memory and a mysterious reality ... Yoon cultivates a slow burn, an approach that creates intimacy to the internal conflict of a man trying to untangle his past and survive at the same time ... By giving just enough vivid detail but keeping key elements ambiguous, a reader can easily morph into the main character and become a part of this world.