“Alexander’s Locus Amœnus is a biting, witty, and ultimately touching window on modern American life. She evokes the wit and depth of the best of Kingsolver and high satire and earnest social exploration of Pynchon or Delillo. Her experiences bridging the worlds of rural and urban northeastern America provide those of us with experience of both a welcomed bit of nostalgia, longing, familiarity, and a sense of loss. This story is to be savored, and hopefully re-read in certain existential moods.”
The fossil fuel industry has an enormous impact on politics, the economy, and our health. This pollution Goliath is just too powerful to fight with government regulations. Take matters into your own hands and put vegetable oil in your fuel tank.
Electric cars will also be a good green choice some day. Unfortunately 44 percent of electricity is generated at coal-burning plants. The new construction of wind farms and run-of-the-river hydroelectric dams to power our super high-efficiency electric cars should be part of our long-term green energy strategy, but such projects require huge start-up funds and massive political support. People who want to help fight environmental pollution and disentangle our politics from the Middle East now — with the technology that is currently available — can run their diesel vehicles on vegetable oil.
Although burning vegetable oil does release carbon into the air, this carbon is already part of a natural cycle of plants taking in CO2 from the air and releasing oxygen. When plants decay, the stored carbon is released back into the environment. Burning vegetable oil does not add more carbon into the atmosphere than is already part of the available carbon constantly being recycled. In contrast, the carbon in fossil fuels is brought up from deep below the surface and added to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Continue reading
“This brilliant, searing political novel deserves to be read by all of those interested in the current and future state of the United States of America. Darkly comic, wry and witty, Locus Amœnus is a genuine pastoral, a critique of the bloating and corruption of American life that draws on Hamlet for its dissection of politics, relationships, and love in post-9/11 America. From Swift to Shakespeare, the literary antecedents for Locus Amœnus are wide and varied, but the novel that emerges is wholly original and haunting in its graphic depiction of contemporary American mores and failures. I can’t recommend Victoria N. Alexander’s new novel enough.”
A satirical examination of how we live in the 21st century, in the United Estates of America, with less civilization and more discontents than hitherto. Amidst nostalgic reflections on our past, Victoria notices current absurdities and contradictions in our appetites and critique of consumerism, and despite the tragedy, we have the consolation of her humor. I haven’t laughed this well while reading in a long time.
Locus Amœnus is available now on Amazon.
Brilliantly combining Shakespeare’s knowing personal-political masterpiece, Hamlet, with post-911 ruminations of an edifying diversity of characters inhabiting Amenia in rural New York, novelist Victoria N. Alexander manages to do the three things that Nabokov says a good novelist must do: tell a story, inform, and enchant. Locus Amœnus, a short, sweet, sui generis blend of contemporary adult fiction and geopolitical drama, reminds us that something may be rotten in more than Denmark.
Locus Amœnus will be out soon. You can pre-order from Amazon at a 13% discount. (This discount decreases as the pub date nears!!)
Award-winning actor Ben Jorgensen will be reading the audiobook version of Victoria N. Alexander’s new novel Locus Amœnus, which is due to be released in hardcover at the end of April. The story is told by Hamlet, whose mother, a 9/11 widow, has recently married a corrupt bureaucrat named Claudius.
Beginning his acting career as the boy in Calvin Klein’s Obsession commercials directed by Richard Avedon, Ben Jorgensen’s credits include feature films, The Break with Martin Sheen and The Basketball Diaries with Leonardo DiCaprio. He won Emmy and GLAD awards for his portrayal of the gay teen Kevin Sheffield in All My Children and also had a feature role in As the World Turns. His most recent theater credits include What Will People Think!?, a Strawberry festival finalist, A Season in the Congo at La Mama, Hamlet (as the ghost) and Trial and Treason in the lead role as President. He also wrote and acted in the original play Manny’s Last Stand, starring Austin Pendleton, which was chosen to open the Summer Strawberry festival in 2013. He is currently working on his own version of Hamlet as a blues Opera.
The audiobook will be available late summer. Order a hard cover edition of Locus Amœnus from Amazon at a 13% discount for a limited time. (Next week the discount will be 12% then 11%…)
The galleys (review copies) of Locus Amœnus came out today. Permanent, the publisher, will be sending them to Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly and various other trade review publications.
Okay, so maybe picking a Latin phrase, Locus Amœnus, with its weird spelling, for the title of my latest novel might make it a little hard for people to recommend it to friends. (If you order now from Amazon you can get 13% off.) Locus amœnus can be pronounced in English, Low cuss a men us, with stresses on “low” and “a.” In Latin you want to make “amœnus” sound more like “a moin us.” I have also heard amœnus pronounced “uh mean us.” Any of these are acceptable. This is America, after all.
Locus Amœnus means “pleasant location,” and it’s used in poetry to describe a restful place where nothing bad ever happens. It also happens to be the scene of the crime in many of Ovid’s tales, an idea which fits well with the theme of my novel. I couldn’t pass up this phrase for my title, despite its awkwardness, because the story is set in the rural upstate town of Amenia, a would-be pastoral paradise where I own a sheep farm. The name “Amenia” of course comes from the same Latin word as amœnus. Amenia is, by the way, variously pronounced as “Uh many uh” or “Uh meanie uh.”
The cover for Locus Amœnus, my new novel which will be out this spring, will feature the painting Silo Ridge by Tarryl Gabel. Gabel is an award-winning local painter, inspired by the Hudson River School, who continues to paint landscapes of this beautiful valley. Silo Ridge is the name of the old farmland (now a golf course) that is the town of Amenia’s claim to fame. It is one of the most, if not the most, beautiful views in the whole area. When my husband and I were looking for land to purchase, we drove all over the Catskills and Harlem Valley. When we went round the hill and were presented with this scene, we knew we wanted to make this area our home.
Click on the image for a larger view.
Here is the final cover design for Locus Amœnus, which will be released at the end of April. The novel is a dark comedy/tragedy, a revision of Hamlet set in rural upstate New York in 2009. I requested a graffiti font for the tile to add a bit of irreverence to contrast the pastoral scene. The designer chose to use a bullet-holes-and-blood font to make it look like a thriller. The story does involve an old murder, two accidental deaths, some bloody noses and an allusion to Shakespeare’s heap of bodies at the end of his play, but no one actually gets a mob-style hit in Locus Amœnus.