THE UNDERSTORY by Pamela Erens reviewed by Ashlee Paxton-Turner • Cleaver Magazine
THE UNDERSTORY by Pamela Erens Tin House Books 169 pages (originally published by Ironweed Press in 2007) reviewed by Ashlee Paxton-Turner I began Pamela Erens’ The Understory to find the main character, Jack Ronan Gorse, peering inside his coffee cup to reassure himself that he is indeed drinking black coffee. As someone who also only drinks black coffee, I identified with Gorse’s need to ensure the absence of cream and sugar. Of course, Gorse’s habit has an interesting origination; it developed after once finding sour milk in his coffee. This first introduction to Gorse is a telling characterization of him; he is a man in love with his habits and his routines, yet at the same time, restricted by them, using them to repress his desires for love and companionship. Gorse even goes so far as to insist that he cannot tolerate the company of other people, yet he is … chop! chop! read more!