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The Suitorsby Ben Ehrenreich
Synopses & Reviews
This audacious reimagining of The Odyssey finds Penny home alone while Payne, a modern-day Odysseus, gallivants around the world on battleships and attack helicopters, waging wars of conquest. A drinking, drugging crew of ne'er-do-well squatters surrounds Penny, eager for her attention. Even their most eyebrow-raising exploits can't distract her, though, as she angrily pines for Payne. But when a mysterious man with suspicious origins arrives on the scene, the suitors' precarious pecking order falls to pieces in the glow of Penny's newly ignited ardor. Brutal, playful, sexy, and subversive, The Suitors is a classic of its own kind.
"Explicitly comparing itself to The Odyssey, Ehrenreich's first novel owes less to Homer's epic than to Joyce's. With his linguistic acrobatics, caustic wit and mix-and-match structure, Ehrenreich (son of activist journalist Barbara) shows the stirrings of an original talent. Set in a never-never land equal parts contemporary America and classical antiquity, the book centers on the romance of the Ulysses and Penelope — like lovers Payne and Penny. Payne gathers a loosely organized rabble of flunkies to assist him in building a palace for Penny, and soon mobilizes them into an army to fight for glory and riches. After a period of happy pillaging, Payne disappears on the warpath, and Penny and her suitors are left alone, wondering if their leader will ever return. Bound by their collective love (and lust) for Penny, the suitors begin to bicker, sinking into sadness and delusion. Ehrenreich is less concerned with his deliberately ramshackle plot than with the glories of his language. With a talent for literary mimicry, he tries on a multiplicity of voices (some more successful than others). As the story proceeds and echoes Homer more closely, the novel's wit ebbs, but for those with a lust for American modernist fiction, Ehrenreich's will be a journey they'll gladly take." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is truly a ravishing book." Bomb magazine
"[R]ichly imagined...a dazzling display of verbal gifts....[A] writer to watch." Booklist
"Ehrenreich blends Tom Robbins' sly humor with Steve Erickson's bubbling sense of the subconscious and Voltaire's irreverent twists of plot." Los Angeles Times
"Innovatively structured...layfully filled with 'mathematical testimony' and subtle metaphors...Recommended." Library Journal
"Smart and funny, taking swipes at the Bush administration, the Iraq war, and the notion of heroism, in this or any other age." Los Angeles Magazine
A fresh, frenzied, fantastical re-imagining of The Odyssey — and the debut of a major new literary talent.
"A unique, powerful new voice full of passion."—Etgar Keret, author The Nimrod Flipout
This audacious re-imagining of The Odyssey finds Penny home alone while Payne, a modern-day Odysseus, wages wars of conquest. Angrily pining for Payne, Penny is oblivious to even the most eyebrow-raising exploits of the nere-do-wells who court her—until a mysterious visitor appears and the suitors precarious pecking order falls violently to pieces. Brutal, playful, sexy, and subversive, The Suitors is a classic of its own kind.
"Ehrenreich blends Tom Robbins sly humor with Steve Ericksons bubbling sense of the subconscious and Voltaires irreverent twists of plot."—Los Angeles Times
"Compelling . . . Ehrenreich evokes a sense of decay and destruction, of a decadent empire in collapse—a hybrid of antiquity and our own contemporary America."—Seattle Weekly
"Ehrenreich writes with an ease and pure line-by-line skill thats rare."—New York Times
Ben Ehrenreich is a journalist whose writing has appeared in L.A. Weekly, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Book Review, and many other publications. He lives in Los Angeles.
About the Author
Ben Ehrenreich is a journalist whose writing has appeared in LA Weekly, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Book Review, and many other publications. He lives in Los Angeles.
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