Published by Two Dollar Radio in 2009.
Originally published by E. P. Dutton, New York, 1974
"I was thrown out of bed. The mirror fell off the wall and shattered over the dresser. The floor moved again and the ceiling sagged towards me. It was dawn and I was in the Tropicana Motel in Los Angeles. The door banged open and a small man in black silk jockey shorts crawled towards me. His black hair was parted in the middle and there was an oblong birthmark the size of an ostrich egg on his left shoulder. 'I figure it for an earthquake,' he said. 'I’ll wait here. But don’t forget me. You forget me and I’ll come after you. Everything is in my wallet. Room six. I got credit cards.'" — excerpt from Quake
The narrator of Rudolph Wurlitzer’s extraordinary new novel, Quake, is a drifter, having arrived in Los Angeles from New York. “I wasn’t above panhandling, spiritual or otherwise.” The first tremor is followed shortly by another and still another, freezing the bizarre occupants of the motel into sharp relief. The narrator drifts off away from the motel, is commandeered by a group of rescue workers and almost gets trapped in a crumbling building. He is then seized by a marauding neighborhood vigilante group at war with other neighborhood armies, forced to strip and then march naked out of the city. Unable to surrender to the idea that he is a victim of other people’s terror, he watches as the quake liberates people’s emotions, forces the truth that is witness to disaster. A powerful and absorbing novel, Quake is a testament to man’s ability to struggle for life with humor and courage.