Tania's Reviews > The Understory

The Understory by Pamela Erens
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's review
May 16, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended for: fans of Dave King's The Ha-Ha

This was just a marvellous novel, a real find. I opened the bookstore package while standing by the tea kettle, flicked to the first page, and half an hour later had to force myself to put the darn book down and get back to work. (Tea was cold.)

Great storytelling, a compelling voice, and the understory keeps unfolding on many levels. Beautiful writing. Other readers have described the story very well already. But something in the tone and quality of characterization, and the way it immersed me into a world I was reluctant to leave, with a character I couldn't help but love, even though he's so painfully vulnerable and hidden to himself, reminded me of Dave King's The Ha-Ha.

It's a pretty quick read, partly because it's so economically written, more of a novella perhaps, partly because of the tension from page one, a graceful seduction. I think I read most of it holding my breath, wondering where it was leading, and the ending was both a surprise, and satisfyingly real.

I'll follow Pamela Erens wherever she goes, hope there's a new novel soon.

(An interview with Erens by Xujun Eberlein piqued my interest in reading this novel - at Xujun's blog www.insideoutchina.com - post dated March 25, 2008)

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