If you’ve been reading these pages, you’ve noticed a good deal of writing on and from Palestine. I began reporting there in 2011 and ended up moving to Ramallah in 2013. I’ve been back in the US for a while now and the book that I was working on there is finally done, due out this June 14 from Penguin (and on August 4 from Granta Books in the UK). You can find more details, and even pre-order a copy, on the Penguin and Granta sites. In the meantime, people have been saying some very kind things.

 

Advance praise for The Way to the Spring: 

"It is all too easy to  become overwhelmed by the glaring injustice and the difficulties a traveler encounters in the territories occupied by Israel but Ben Ehrenreich resists the temptation. He  remains enraged but lucid, eloquent and insightful. Of the voluminous amount of writing about the occupation this is one to treasure. He retains an intimacy with his subject without losing his critical distance. So much has been written about the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel but rarely with such vividness, eloquence and success in illuminating complex historical and political realities. This is a superbly intelligent, informative and critical book about one of the fundamental issues of our time." — Raja Shehadeh


“The myriad ordeals suffered by the Palestinian people during the last eighty years are minutely reported here. It’s a chronicle of their daily lives. Read it! It recognises and respects hope.” — John Berger 

 

“Ben Ehrenreich’s rendition of the Palestinian experience is powerful, deep and heartbreaking, so much closer to the ground than the Middle East reporting we usually see. I wish there were more writers as brave.” — Adam Hochschild


Ben Ehrenreich, a gifted novelist and journalist, went to Palestine not to instruct or lecture, as all too many writers have done, but to listen.  The result is a powerful, at times almost feverish account of a people defying oppression, with creativity, resourcefulness, and a distinctively grim sense of humor. Palestinian lives matter to Ehrenreich, and he writes about them from the bottom-up, with hard-boiled lyricism, novelistic intimacy and a revolutionary's sense of urgency. As heart-breaking as it is, The Way to the Spring is also a strangely joyful book, because Ehrenreich grasps the essence of the Palestinian struggle: not Islam, or even nationalism, but the stubborn refusal of injustice, the restless search for ‘how it would feel to be free,’ as Nina Simone said. The Way to the Spring is more than a work of journalism. It is a freedom song, burning with humanity.” — Adam Shatz 

 

An astonishing book. And that's shocking in itself: We generally pride ourselves on our willingness to speak for the disadvantaged ,but remain truculent and evasive in the case of Palestinians. There can be no more excuses, if The Way to the Spring is given the widespread attention it deserves,for such uncharacteristic moral cowardice. — Robert Wyatt

 

“Sets a new standard for mainstream reporting on Palestine: informed, enlightening, open-hearted. Ehrenreich illuminates the daily human experience of Occupation through the nuances of resistance and solidarity.” — Sarah Schulman


“Though often framed as a ‘foreign policy problem,’ Palestine is a land of miracles and wonders, with ordinary men and women who ‘decline to consent to [their] own eradication’ struggling against a vast landscape to live free lives one day at a time. The land and its people exert an uncanny attraction; everyday struggles achieve an uncanny beauty. In The Way to the Spring, Ben Ehrenreich shapes the uncanny into words and into stories. This is a compelling, essential book.” Mark Danner
 
 
“In The Way to The Spring, Ben Ehrenreich accomplishes an extraordinary feat of journalism.  His portraits of Palestinian resistance are luminous; his writing subtle, meticulously documented and deeply human; showing the nuanced empathy that slashes through the best funded government propaganda. This is a necessary book.” — Molly Crabapple

 
“I loved The Way To The Spring. Ehrenreich is excellent on the nuances of suffering and survival.The book is to be read with acceptance, subtlety, and an open mind – just as it was written.” — Bidisha

"Written with fire in the belly and a hawk’s eye for the telling fact. The Way to the Spring is an unforgettable read but not an easy one, full of uncomfortable and inconvenient truths.  Ehrenreich’s great talent is for testimony; the individual human stories that disrupt gross injustice by asking questions about morality, legality and the actual historical record. Ehrenreich’s non-fiction debut is a powerful and unwavering pursuit of the through-lines of freedom.” — Rachel Holmes 

 

 

A bearded man in a badly soiled suit known only as the Stranger wanders an apocalyptic landscape on the fringes of a dying metropolis, looking for a way to "get back on top." Thwarted and rejected at every turn by old friends and strangers alike--even by the author of this novel, whom he visits repeatedly in unsuccessful attempts to determine his own narrative--his impotence and rage are expressed in acts of seemingly senseless violence. The various characters he encounters on his journey--a pack of sadistic boys, skinheads who beat him senseless, a deaf-mute woman who tries to heal him, a sidewalk preacher and a deranged man who identify him as The One--avoid him or abuse him, or attempt to follow him.

 

Entertaining, disturbing and wildly intelligent, written with sinister humor and great compassion, Ether reflects on the possibilities and consequences of forgiveness, the problems of faith and the trials of creation.

 

Praise for Ether:

"A stranger walks into town. Lyrical and blindingly clear, Ben Ehrenreich's Ether unfolds in dreamy simultaneous timescapes punctuated by flashes of violence. Moving between busses and bars, rail yards and suburbs, Ehrenreich's novel depicts the teeming activity that persists in the world beneath an ether of numbness. Like a David Lynch movie transcribed by Pierre Reverdy, it's a brilliant and unforgettable book, written somewhere between sleeping and waking." —Chris Kraus author of Torpor and Where Art Belongs

"Ben Ehrenreich's Ether is anything but. The descriptions pop. The world is rendered without qualification, without fear. The structure is challenging, refreshing, effective. This is an intense, intelligent novel novel that paints a vivid picture of an America that most of us refuse to see, are afraid to see. This is real art." —Percival Everett, author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier

"A book that's both pure as snow and filthy as dirt, with the lovely detachment of ice. Like Beckett, Ehrenreich has the talent of being particular and general at once, and thus steps outside time." —Lydia Millet, Pulitzer Prize finalist for Love in Infant Monkeys

"Ether is a dark and powerful work, with disturbing metaphysical overtones. Ben Ehrenreich is a gathering power in the literary land." —John Banville, author of The Infinities and The Sea

"Ben Ehenreich transforms the brutal human and urban blight into a landscape of cosmic battle. Ether is a dark, complex, richly written, beautiful novel. It is a rarity in American fiction today." —Frederic Tuten, author of Self Portraits: Fictions and Tintin in the New World

"Ether, perhaps even more than his previous novel, The Suitors, shows Ben Ehrenreich unafraid of storytelling that is terrifically bold and sly. Ehrenreich seems to have returned from hiking the ruined wastelands and margins of Port-au-Prince and New Orleans, Mexico City and Los Angeles, Arizona and Phnom Penh, having cracked open the hard nut of the world. Or perhaps Ehrenreich himself has cracked, allowing him to tell this wild, eerie tale of forgiveness for blasted, shattered times. Cries of seabirds from the Gulf of Mexico and pale forms of dying dolphins and porpoises glimmer darkly through it. But in Ether, the heart opens and shines a light, magnetic and acrid, smudged and infrared." —Sesshu Foster, author of World Ball Notebook and Atomik Aztex  

 

You can buy it here:  http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100105580

 

 

 

An audacious reimagining of The Odyssey, in which Penny waits alone at home 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.

 

Praise for The Suitors:

 

"Incantatory. ... I admire this book, its authority … There is not a line of waste in the telling, not a tired verb, not a cliché of sentimentality in this novel tense with romance, not a sorry gap in the story as it drives at a pace at once leisurely and speeding, not one gimmick in its originality. This is truly a ravishing book." —Frederic Tuten, BOMB

 

"It’s a fantastic hodgepodge … smart and postmodern in a puckish, Calvino-like sense. … Ehrenreich writes with an ease and pure line-by-line skill that’s rare." —New York Times Book Review

 

"The Suitors is not your ordinary first novel. … Ehrenreich blends Tom Robbins’ sly humor with Steve Erickson's bubbling sense of the subconscious and Voltaire’s irreverent twists of plot. In addition, there is that beautiful certainty of the young writer’s voice." —Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

 

"A richly imagined novel loosely based on Homer’s  and inspired by a dazzling display of verbal gifts. …Ehrenreich’s prodigious, Joycean prose establishes him as a writer to watch." —Booklist

 

"With his linguistic acrobatics, caustic wit and mix-and-match structure, Ehrenreich shows the stirrings of an original talent… for those with a lust for American modernist fiction, Ehrenreich’s will be a journey they’ll gladly take." —Publisher's Weekly

“Ehrenreich can evoke a heartbreaking anomie… The Suitors has moments of startling compassion.” —Village Voice

The Suitors is 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

“Brilliant, and at the same time moving. It’s a relief to know that literature exists yet.” —Juan Goytisolo, author of Count Julian and Juan the Landless

“At once anarchic and stirring, Ben Ehrenreich's The Suitors has the well-earned confidence of its own crazy music, and of an original vision that sees no contradiction between subversion and compassion.” —Steve Erickson, author of Zeroville  and Our Ecstatic Days

“Gorgeous and brutal, sexy and sly and sad, The Suitors is many stories in one: a stay-at-homer’s Odyssey in which the monsters wear our faces and the most perilous journey is the one between two people.” —Shelley Jackson, author of Half Life  and The Melancholy of Anatomy

 The Suitors is an immensely clever novel, dense, demandingly allusive and powerful – but it is not in the least intimidating.  Ben Ehrenreich is too compelling a narrator and too playful and subversive a writer to provide anything for his reader other than unbroken pleasure.” —Jim Crace, author of The Pesthouse and Genesis

 
“Ben Ehrenreich has created a beautifully structured and inventive novel.  The language of The Suitors is richly layered, full of nuance and subtle gesture.  This is a novel that merely pretends to be quiet.  It is a work will pull me back to it again and again.” —Percival Everett, author of Wounded and Erasure
 

“A unique, powerful new voice full of passion and power.” —Etgar Keret, author of The Girl on the Fridge and The Nimrod Flipout

 

You can buy it here: http://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9780156031837

 

or here: http://www.stmarksbookshop.com/book/9780156031837

 

or here: http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9780156031837-0

 

or even here: http://www.amazon.com/Suitors-Novel-Ben-Ehrenreich/dp/0156031833/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2