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The Understory Paperback – 18 Oct 2007

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Paperback, 18 Oct 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 143 pages
  • Publisher: Ironweed Pr Inc (18 October 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931336040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931336048
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Boxed-product Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item

Product description


"A mesmerizing tale... a universal human cry for love." -- ForeWord Magazine, September/October 2007

"An elegant, understated study of physical and psychic dislocations . . . artfully detailed and beautifully rendered." -- Chicago Tribune, December 22, 2007

"Erens is an exceptional writer." -- El Paso Times, October 28, 2007

"Jack Gorse, the bookish, obsessive protagonist of Pamela Erens' debut novel, is part of a long line of literary wanderers. Like Binx Bolling, from Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, Jack is an astute observer, a metaphysician of the ordinary, but a faltering amateur at living the life he so skillfully dissects.... The Understory is a worthy Northern counterpart to Percy's metaphysical exploration, and a reminder that originality and depth can be found in a fiction's language, not just in the breadth of the experience it represents." -- Small Spiral Notebook, October 8, 2007

A 40-year-old New Yorker bound to his solitude and his habits find he has lost the ability to connect with others in former Glamour editor Erens's hauntingly abject first novel. After years of skirting New York tenancy laws, unemployed former lawyer Jack Gorse is evicted by the new owners of his Manhattan building and ends up 300 miles north at a Vermont Buddhist retreat. In alternating chapters of this skillfully rendered work, Erens moves between the present at the creepy northern retreat, where Jack tends bonsai trees, and Jack's dreary former existence in the city, where he is shaken from his decades of inertia by a visit from the building owners' architect, Patrick Allegra. Patrick takes a picture of Jack in his desperately blasted state and genuinely seems to care where Jack will go after the eviction. The tenderness of this fragile human connection is unbearable for Jack, who is reminded of a similar lost boyhood relationship. Jack's complex reaction is handled cursorily in what is overall a sensitive, restrained debut. (Sept.) --Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2007

About the Author

The Understory is author Pamela Erens's debut novel. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in a variety of literary and general-interest magazines, including Chicago Review, The Literary Review, Glamour, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

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