Thursday, November 01, 2007
The Understory by Pamela Erens
The Understory is a great debut novel from Pamela Erens (it was the winner of the Ironwood Press Fiction Prize). This is one of those books you just want to stay home from work to finish reading. The lead character is Jack Gorse, an unemployed loner whose daily routines (that border on OCD) give him a purpose in life. (In this sense the writing reminds me of the best of Magnus Mills, the way you as the reader slip into the character's mind and daily doings.) The routines, however, are upset when Jack is evicted from his apartment. Things begin to spiral out of control for him without these routines, and as he loses his grip on life, he grasps at the straws of an impossible/imagined relationship.