“Erens’ eye for detail isn’t confined to her principal characters. One of the most notable aspects of her fiction is the way she takes ‘sensory snapshots’ of her world and its inhabitants—honing in on details that may appear tertiary at the time, but which effectively build so that the novel feels like a living, breathing mural. ‘After Canal Street Chinatown dissolves into the municipal district, with its ugly horizontal architecture, its clouds of dirty pigeons, its stream of distressed visitors,’ Jack observes. ‘Lawyers leap out of taxis, thousands of lawyers on their way to family court, divorce courts, housing court, criminal court.’ The result is a ruthlessly poignant depiction of a New York City steadily ceding to gentrification, vividly relayed as Jack conducts his obsessive, routine walks through parks and bookstores…”

To read my entire review, click here:

http://www.kenyonreview.org/kr-online-issue/2015-winter/selections/the-understory-by-patricia-erens-738439/

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