Writing in primary colors and Homeric prose, Ben Ehrenreich exposes the mythology of his own soul in Ether, his second novel. The story is about “The Stranger,” a fallen god trapped on Earth, trying to get “back on top.” In the book, Ehrenreich is trying to figure things out and at times appears as a character himself, existentially wrestling with the stranger like Jacob in the book of Genesis. But every character seems to be a disguised reflection of the author’s divided psyche, and every character is in despair. It was Kierkegaard who called despair the “sickness unto death.” Not the death that is the end of life, but death that leads to new life through rebirth. According to Joseph Campbell, the DNA of all mythology is the process of death, burial and resurrection, and with resurrection comes a new paradigm. And that is the only thing missing from this myth: There is no transformation of consciousness. By the end of the book, Ehrenreich is still unable to open “the gate” and take the leap of faith. But even though he doesn’t find the answers that he’s looking for, I found Ether to be the most creative moment in literature this last year.