by Ben Ehrenreich
City Lights, 2011
144 pages / $13.95 buy from City Lights
Towards the beginning of Ben Ehrenreich’s sophomore novel Ether, we are introduced to an unnamed bag man who carries around his worldly possessions in three bags, which he drags with him wherever he shuffles. The bag man lives in a smoky, charred, polluted world (probably Los Angeles), one where a great calamity appears to have recently occurred, and one where an even greater calamity looms. The world is filled with bands of hostile kids who seem to have outgrown childish pranks and are instead on to kidnapping and torture. The world is also filled with video cameras, some active, some not … all menacing. After a series of unusual setbacks, the bag man eventually falls in with a homophobic priest, two crippled twins in wheelchairs, and several other sad-sack characters, and goes on a search for a vaguely Beast-like figure in a white suit.
If you want Apocalyptic plotlines, Ehrenreich certainly delivers.
January 26th, 2012 / 12:00 pm