Eve Ottenberg

Cover of "What They Didn't Know"

What They Didn't Know, Stories and Essays

A number of these stories and essays are reprinted from literary journals, and one essay first appeared in The New York Times Magazine, but most are published here for the first time. The most recent stories range from a California prison to a house in foreclosure outside Trenton, New Jersey, to a high-powered Philadelphia law firm, but though the settings vary, they display thematic unity -- the power and propinquity of the unknown. "From the Depths" is a cycle of seventeen stories about people on the bottom of the social ladder in the early twenty-first century, while the 1980s series, "Kindness in the City, Six Stories," evokes the magic of the metropolis, that is, Manhattan.

The essays deal with four Renaissance literary masterpieces of humanism, by Cervantes, Rabelais, Erasmus and Boccaccio, the work of a contemporary fiction writer, Ozick,and an analysis of Augustine's Confessions. Altogether these stories and essays make for an extremely various and compelling mix.

Selected Works

A novel about the human cost of a water crisis in a low-income city.
When two suburban retirees decide to go into the marijuana trade for extra spending money, it doesn't take long for things to go haywire, in this novel which could be called a comic meditation on mental illness.
This fourth and final volume in the series "The Human Struggle," reveals much about the causes of the war off-world, in which angels assist fighters in their battle against humanity's fascist enemies. It also traces the skullduggery of an enemy corporation here on earth, as it maneuvers to speed the planet's demise.
The third in the sci-fi fantasy trilogy, "The Human Struggle," this novel follows the fighters, Detective Orozco, head of the transuniverse orphanage, and Pavel Saltwater, computer genius. Both are heroes from the previous books.
Second in "The Human Struggle" series, this is a sci-fi fantasy about the collapse of an alternate reality and the human effort to avert it.
A sci-fi fantasy about a war of the worlds, and the human struggle to survive it.
A novel about a group of hippies, radicals and political activists in the 1960s and how they changed or did not in the ensuing decades.
This murder story, set in a great but second-rate East Coast city during the 1960s, portrays society from the top to its dregs, people fighting to survive, while struggling against powerful, ambiguous forces, deep within the human soul.
This tale of a teachers' strike pits beleaguered public workers against an ambitious official and the business model of education.
These stories and essays, a number previously published, make for a collection that is various and compelling.
A comic novel in dialogue about a group of daffy suburbanites and how they get tangled up with each other
A comic novel about a group of well-heeled ninnies who band together in a "not in my backyard" effort.
A novel about the human costs of the Iraq war.
A comic novel about a group of bumblers with a get-rich-quick scheme.
A dark drama about murder and betrayal in New York City in the 1950s.
A comic novel about real estate in Manhattan.