Wednesday night, 8 PM on KPFK 90.7 FM: BEN EHRENREICH. A collection of characters assembled in a dreamy parable, narrated by an alternately judicious, troubled, stubborn, mean yet authoritative narrator. A talking cockatiel asking its existential questions. “Think you’re much? Know you’re living?” A post-apocalypse urban nightmare where cameras watch what seems a world of both homeless survivors and you and me, in our all-too-familiar postmodern absurdist reality. This is the putative setting of Ben Ehrenreich’s new novel, Ether, which seems to explore the place of a shamed god figure, in the spirit of wordplay and drama of “Waiting for Godot,” but with contemporary poetic realism and smart humor: Beckett meets Nathaniel West. The novel constructs place and image out of archetype, but with precise and elegant prose describing in harsh and beautiful detail that place where dream and reality coexist. Characters include the narrator, who doles out fate and faith, the Bagman, the Stranger, Angel Gabriel, Michael a lawyer and perhaps former angel also, Pigeon a little boy who finds a magic portal, the Preacher, teenage girls, Lillith the ur-woman who is a deaf mute, violent skinhead boys who cannot, or will not hear what is spoken, and a stray dog. All to say that this is a normal city totally realized in a worldview of complication and emotion and big ideas, about belief and existence. My guest this week is the author of Ether, Ben Ehrenreich, an award-winning journalist and fiction writer. He wrote a previous novel, The Suitors, a retelling of Penelope’s story from the Odyssey, and his short stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Bomb and Black Clock. Is this show great, or what? Thanks for listening, live on the radio, online anytime and downloadable free from the KPFK radio archives. www.kpfk.org. And thanks for supporting the station during our recent winter fund drive.