When two suburban retirees decide to enter the marijuana trade for extra spending money, it doesn’t take long for things to go haywire. First one of their distributors plunges off the deep end, while the other becomes the object of a conspiracy-minded neighbor’s bizarre fixation. Then there comes a court case, multiple, hysterical calls to 911 and an utterly harebrained burglary, as everyone’s peculiar symptoms deteriorate. Meanwhile, the lives of other neighbors, from DEA agents to smarmy lobbying lawyers who avidly peruse the pages of Peddling magazine are linked to the lunacy of the main characters. In short, Homegrown could easily be called a comic meditation on mental illness.
Sunset at Dawn
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 Race of Men
The third in the sci-fi fantasy trilogy, "The Human Struggle," this novel tracks the efforts of two fighters, Detective Orozco and Pavel Saltwater, as they race to save lives from an enemy determined to extirpate the human race from this and every universe.
Zone of Illusion
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.
Realm of Shadow
A sci-fi fantasy about a war of the worlds and the human struggle to survive it.
Sojourn at Dusk
This sprawling novel, set in the 1960s and the ensuing decades, depicts a large group of hippies, anti-war activists and political radicals as they participate in the volcanic events of an era that changed the United States. From the major East Coast cities to Chicago, San Francisco, Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, Mexico and Peru, "Sojourn at Dusk" follows the peregrinations of its characters and how they changed or did not with the passage of time. The novel also chronicles the depredations of a multinational corporation that affects the lives of these people. From the opening flight of a leftist from the clutches of the FBI in 1950, to the police riot at the 1968 Chicago convention, to the attempts of Vietnam veterans to reconstruct their lives, this novel is imbued with the sense that though the 1960s and '70s were less the beginning that many thought than the beginning of an end, those years nonetheless displayed plenty of daring and courage and risks taken for unshakable convictions.
Dark Is the Night
This murder story set in the great but run-down East Coast city of D___, against the backdrop of 1960s counterculture, political activism and revolutionary violence, chronicles the intent of a drug-dealing hippie, who doubles as a police spy, to cash in on his girlfriend's death. Mob violence, political corruption, a virulently reactionary mayor and a decent legislator's attempt to unseat him weave together in a pattern of plots and subplots that ensnare artists, union organizers and people of goodwill in the coils of the coldly triumphant wicked. The social panorama of loan sharks, high society heirs and the psychotic homeless shifts from light to shade and hope to despair, as people in a landscape of unrelieved gloom and iniquity fight to survive. Above all, "Dark Is the Night" is a story about evil and the struggle against it, in the dark depths of the human soul.
The Walkout, A Tale in Three Parts
The new schools superintendent of a large East Coast city has big plans for education -- plans that involve firing legions of teachers. Thus begins The Walkout, a tale told from the perspectives of several different participants. There is intrigue, blackmail, treachery, skullduggery -- all set against the backdrop of a mass protest, as the teachers battle to save their jobs and education for their students. But the new superintendent, they learn, cares little for either; he has outsized plans and even more outsized ambitions, which set in motion all kinds of trouble. The struggle between blind ambition and decency, wild careerism and modest goals makes The Walkout not just a tale in three parts, but also a parable of our times.
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," 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.
When Winnie Teitlebaum decides to commit suicide, little does she anticipate that she will be interrupted by a burglar. But she is, and her suicidal concentration is shattered. Thus begins the rather wacky relationship at the center of Reluctant Reaper, a comedy about a group of zany suburbanites, some of them quite adle-pated, some rather nuts. Some are elderly, with one foot literally in the grave. Set in Maryland in the summer of 2009, amid swine flu hysteria and the first steps of a new president, this novel portrays hypochondriacs, the Alzeihemer's afflicted, several petty criminals, colorful eccentrics and one raving lunatic, all thrown together whether they like it or not. And when they don't, they are not shy about vociferously, hilariously complaining.
The posh hamlet of Spuckelsburg, outside Washington D.C., is up in arms. A terrifying plan is afoot, to run a mass transit line right into the residents' opulent midst. Ready to fight, they have retained the services of a mad though ruthlessly effective lawyer, who showers his generous share of the massive settlements he wins on Las Vegas slot machines, exotic dancers and the insanely conspiracy-minded political cult to which he belongs. Thus begins Suburbia, a comic novel about a group of well-heeled ninnies who band together to protect their property values. No matter that some of them are so dim-witted they can scarcely follow a sentence with a relative clause -- they know a threat when they see it. From the Viagra support group, to a lunatic's campaign for mayor on an anti-pepper spray plank, Suburbia presents one wildly hilarious situation after another with unforgettably eccentric characters.
Dead in Iraq
Eve Ottenberg not only knows how to tell a story, but brings you so far inside that it'll stay with you.
–Nat Hentoff, Village Voice columnist
Dead in Iraq traces the lives of eight young friends and their disastrous group decision, after 9/11, to join the army. Full of humor when depicting their lives at home, the story becomes much more serious when the new recruits arrive in Iraq. Structured around eight portraits, one for each young man and his family, the story moves quickly from impulsive decisions, made in anger and haste, to its catastrophic conclusion.
The Unblemished Darlings
The Unblemished Darlings is a comic novel about the absurdity of much of the human enterprise. It is filled with zany characters, human and animal, some of them with unpronounceable names, all of them, the humans that is, out for a buck. It is also a hilariously improbable romance, with a heroine who is definitely not thin, not rich, more than a little addled and somewhat over-the-hill. But her unlikely suitor loves her, if only he could bring himself to let her know and if only he didn't have so much competition! From the moment the first bird droppings land on Snarkle's head, to the pigeon that tries to steal his dessert, to his beloved's tiny but ferocious dog that attacks him at every opportunity, the entire animal world seems to be conspiring against poor Snarkle; and the humans are not making his romantic pursuit any easier either.
The Widow’s Opera
The Widow's Opera is the story of people whose lives have been uprooted by the cataclysms of the twentieth century - World War II, Stalin's purges and, earlier, the Armenian Genocide.The novel chronicles the life of Ursa Smirny, a Polish refugee in New York City. It also recounts her friendship with the ruthless Nina Morphy, and Nina's mysterious husband, nicknamed Morpheus by the murderers, thieves and other felons of the prisons where he spends his time. Among the many minor characters, some are comic, like the benighted Mr. Darkwood and some otherworldly, like Mr. Tannini, a self-styled nineteenth-century humanist and bibliophile. But it is also a story of betrayal, murder and revenge that moves quickly from the first page to the last.
Glum and Mighty Pagans
This comic novel set in the world of New York City real estate in the late 1970s and early 1980s chronicles the coming of age of Clara Chimes, who wants to be a scientist. But her overbearing aunt wants her in the family business. Brilliant though not particularly good at standing up for herself, Clara flounders through her family's upper class milieu only to loose her way. Clara becomes lost in the world of the housing court, crazed and somewhat corrupt judges, and tenant organizing, and she also struggles with her aunt's cancer. Minor characters abound, and some are hilarious, especially Clara's Republican voting, health-food-eating eccentric friends from the Main Line. After a tour of Clara's somewhat wacky acquaintance, the reader sees her settle for something not her first choice, but still very good.