A bearded man in a badly soiled suit known only as The Stranger wanders an apocalyptic landscape on the fringes of a dying metropolis, looking for a way to “get back on top.” Thwarted and rejected at every turn by old friends and strangers alike—even by the author of this novel, whom he visits repeatedly in unsuccessful attempts to determine his own narrative—his impotence and rage are expressed in acts of seemingly senseless violence. The various characters he encounters on his journey—a pack of sadistic boys, skinheads who beat him senseless, a deaf-mute woman who tries to heal him, a sidewalk preacher, and a deranged man who identifies him as The One—avoid or abuse him, or attempt to follow him.
Entertaining, disturbing, and wildly intelligent, written with sinister humor and great compassion, Ether reflects on the possibilities and consequences of forgiveness, the problems of faith, and the trials of creation.
Ben Ehrenreich is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer. Ether is his second novel living in Los Angeles, where he works as a novelist and journalist. His first novel, The Suitors, was published by Counterpoint in 2006. His short fiction has been widely published and anthologized. Ehrenreich’s articles and essays have been published in Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books,The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications.
The Institute for Policy Studies and Teaching for Change Bookstore are the co-sponsors of this event.