Synopses & Reviews
Our Ecstatic Days
begins as the memoir of a young mother desperate to forget a single act, committed out of love and fear, that has changed forever the world around her. In the waning days of summer, a lake appears, almost overnight, in the middle of Los Angeles. In an instant of either madness or revelation, convinced that the lake means to take her small son from her, Kristin becomes determined to stop it. Three thousand miles away, on the eve of a momentous event, another young woman with a bond to Kristin that she can't even know meets a mysterious figure who announces in the dark, "The Age of Chaos is here."
Against a forbidden landscape that shimmers with destiny and yearning, Our Ecstatic Days finally takes place on the terrain of a defiant heart. Human connections multiply into astonishing twists of fate by which the wrongs of an obsolete century may be set right and parallel lives spin faster toward the possibility that they will once again unite, electrifying a vision of the century to come.
"Erickson's dreamlike, postapocalyptic seventh novel, a follow-up to the well-received Sea Came in at Midnight, takes place in and around a lake that stands in what was once the middle of Los Angeles. Through a handful of fractured narratives, the author tells the story of a single mother, 21-year-old Kristin, and her three-year-old son, Kirk (short for Kierkegaard), who live in an abandoned hotel on the water. Kristin once belonged to a religious-suicide cult and has worked as a memory girl in Tokyo ('I used to be fucking fearless, you should know that about me'), but now she's paralyzed by the thought that Kirk will be swallowed up by the lake. Driven by her obsession, she dives into the lake herself, leaving Kirk to be stolen by owls. In competing alternate scenarios, a version of Kristin recovers her son, while another does not and instead becomes a dominatrix named Lulu. Meanwhile, a man named Wang appears, who seems to be a key figure in a resistance movement or crusade that is fighting a war in a North America whose borders have been rearranged. Erickson's treacherously shifting realities never quite cleave to an inner logic. More problematic, however, is the leaden handling of themes of birth, reproduction, motherhood and rebellion, which loom inert and inscrutable over the tale. Agent, Melanie Jackson. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Erickson is a gambler, one of the fabulous myth makers who are needed in these times of deprivation of the imagination." The New York Times Book Review
"An absolute vision that moves fearlessly through time and across geographic boundaries. The only thing that can justify the author's arrogance is genius, which truly and fortunately Erickson has." The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Huge scope...invention, feeling and humor...with love as an abyss of motion, terror, ecstasy. The richest of Erickson's visions to date." The Believer
"There's no one in the world writing like Steve Erickson." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A provocative visionary chronicler of a phantasmagorical America. His work is the literary equivalent of a tsunami, into which the reader must dive headlong." The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"Erickson and his latest novel are clearly sui generis. Our Ecstatic Days
is an extravagant, outsized accomplishment...in which chaos almost -- but never quite -- wins, in which primal human connections keep us going in the face of catastrophic loss. A baroque, visionary novel rooted in fundamental truths."
-- Bill Sheehan, The Washington Post Book World
"Our Ecstatic Days
may be a great one."
-- David Bowman, Bookforum
In the waning summer days, a lake appears almost overnight in the middle of Los Angeles. Out of fear and love, a young single mother commits a desperate act: convinced that the lake means to take her small son from her, she determines to stop it and becomes the lake's Dominatrix-Oracle, "the Queen of the Zed Night." Acclaimed by many critics as Steve Erickson's greatest novel, Our Ecstatic Days takes place on the forbidden landscape of a defiant heart.
About the Author
Steve Erickson is the author of six other acclaimed novels -- including Days Between Stations and Tours of the Black Clock -- as well as two books about American politics and popular culture. The editor of the literary magazine Black Clock, he also writes about film for Los Angeles and teaches at CalArts.