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Susan Orlean

14 articles

Life's Swell

On surfer girls in Maui; the story that led to the film Blue Crush.


Figures in a Mall

Spending time with the Tonya Harding Fan Club in the wake of the assault on Nancy Kerrigan.


Show Dog

“If I were a bitch, I’d be in love with Biff Truesdale. Biff is perfect. He’s friendly, good-looking, rich, famous, and in excellent physical condition. He almost never drools.”


Orchid Fever

The story of John Laroche, which led to Orleans’ The Orchid Thief, and tangentially, the film Adaptation.


The American Male at Age Ten

A profile of Colin Duffy: fifth-grader, suburban New Jersey resident, ruler of the backyard, player of video games, boy.


Art for Everybody

On the empire built by “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade.


The Place to Disappear

On Bangkok’s Khao San Road.



On designer Jean Paul Gaultier and his inspirations.


Shoot the Moon

A profile of Felipe Lopez, high school phenom.


La Matadora Revisa Su Maquillaje (The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup)

A profile of a 25-year-old Spanish sensation.


Meet the Shaggs

From 1968-1973, the three teenage Wiggins sisters, guided by a domineering father, played their strange music at New Hampshire ballrooms and recorded a single album. The Philosophy of the World LP goes for over $500 today, but the intervening decades were not kind to the Wiggins’.


I Want This Apartment

War stories from the world of Manhattan real estate, written during an era when everybody knew the Internet would completely change the business and nobody quite knew how.



What does it take to win the World Taxidermy Championships?


Thinking in the Rain

An artist takes on “the umbrella problem,” which runs so deep the U.S. Patent Office has four full-time examiners dedicated solely to assessing ideas for umbrella improvement.