by Jeffery Anderson
Published: May 4, 2011
Copy received from: Author
To say that Jeffery Anderson’s dystopian, conspiracy-laden Ephemera is not for everyone would be an understatement. To say that it is for very few would be more accurate, and those very few should consider themselves lucky to be given such a novel. Ephemera is not easy to read- both stylistically and content-wise; maybe because a lot of what is happening in the future New York setting seems to be a distinct possibility. While reading, it is just as easy to get tripped up and twisted around the surreal dialog and situations, as it is the actual plot of the story. That is to say, if you are one who can understand what is going on long enough to get drawn into the world of Ephemera, you will not want to put the book down. Nor will you be able to shake the feeling left behind after the pages are closed.
On the surface, Ephemera is a story about journalist Nester Cab, who receives a photograph and note of a fallen soldier, prodding him to find out what happened to him. Through his adventures to find the truth of the story charged to him he becomes deeply enmeshed in a world unlike the orderly one in which we meet him. Along the way he meets strange characters and stranger situations, evoking the surreal worlds of those such as Kurt Vonegut and David Lynch. Nester becomes unsure of what is real and what will come next, as well as unsure as to what really may be important.
Underneath the obvious, this is a story about the decline of free thought, the imbedding of marketing in our daily lives, the validity of conspiracy theories, and how it all effects the personhood within us. The dystopian world that is created becomes as real as our own- and just as possible, if things happen one way instead of another. It serves as an almost cautionary tale of what we let in to our daily lives without question.
Anderson has given us a story that is not conventional by any means. At times the reader will laugh, and just as soon find themselves crying about the absurdity of it all. Although he has yet to hone the stylistic nuances of those he clearly emulates, Anderson is on his way to becoming the next leader of dystopian fiction. There are times when some editing could be beneficial to the trajectory and fluidity of the story, but these do not distract too much from the story within. Ephemera is a story of dark, conflicted characters set within a surreal metaphorical world that begs to be understood. One must only ask if they are ready to understand.
For more about Jeffery M. Anderson, visit his website.
This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
[This review is also published at LuLu Book Review.]