The Chico News and Review
"Writing in primary colors and Homeric prose, Ben Ehrenreich exposes the mythology of his own soul in Ether, his second novel. The story is about 'The Stranger,' a fallen god trapped on Earth, trying to get 'back on top'. In the book, Ehrenreich is trying to figure things out and at times appears as a character himself, existentially wrestling with the stranger like Jacob in the book of Genesis . . . I found Ether to be the most creative moment in literature this last year."--Karl Travis, The Chico News and Review
The Quarterly Conversation
"Ether is a book made from rage. Like Beckett's engraver who 'alone had been spared' because he saw only ashes, Ehrenreich is furious at the fallen world, where 'rain falls on the fields of the rich' but drowns the poor, and where compassion and understanding are futile when they aren’t impossible. . . . Ehrenreich puts his reader in place of both torturer and tortured, and the pain inflicted comes back at us in both directions, and sonorously. "
—John Cotter, The Quarterly Conversation
"Ether is an usual road journey novel. For all its slimness, it tells the stories of a surprisingly vast array of characters . . . the setup here is more important than the journey or its resolution. A true 'writer's writer,' he doesn't so much tell a story as imply it, using layers of characterization and subterfuge."
Los Angeles Times
"A compact work of biblical noir...like Bambi directed by Quentin Tarantino....In Ether God is one of us: fickle, self-obsessed, senselessly malicious....Drink in Ehrenreich's sculpted sentences ... language for the weary and the dispossessed, the rich or the poor. Have a seat; stay awhile."
"In the stylistically diverse world of contemporary literature, Ehrenreich's works fall squarely into the postmodern camp. His stories have appeared in counterculture magazines such as McSweeney’s, and his debut novel, The Suitors (2006), presented a surreal retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. In this slender new novel, Ehrenreich casts himself as a troubled first-person narrator clashing with his own characters, including the tale’s protagonist, an unnamed, disheveled stranger making his way through a postapocalyptic landscape. Bearded and badly soiled, if messiah-like, the stranger totes a mysterious wrapped package others covet. In a series of loosely connected vignettes, the stranger crosses paths with a wide variety of eccentrics and malcontents, including a cocaine-snorting bar patron who tempts him, a homeless bagman who idolizes him, and a gang of skinheads that brutally attacks him. Throughout a roving narrative filled with luminous yet often disturbing imagery, Ehrenreich freely interjects his own voice and ambivalent musings about his characters’ fates and motivations . . . Ehrenreich’s fans will be delighted."
- Carl Hays