It’s ironic if you move to the bucolic quiet of natural surroundings of say, upstate New York, you may be out of the grit and hustle of the city but you may also find yourself in the midst of what America really looks like. The struggle for the Good Life begins again with wholly new challenges.
Ironically you will again be gaping aghast at material obsession and driven spending on poisonous foods and crappy stuff nobody should even want. The conspiracy reaches into the countryside, i-phone-dazed and texting people who are across the street, where nobody votes because the real choice is between Coke and Pepsi or Ford and Chevy, and the bureaucrats right next door are somehow sneaking closer and closer to what you do and say, or that the kids are getting bullied by Core Educational mandates and standardized testing that will determine their futures, that even out in the country, the hoops are just getting smaller and smaller to jump through and, well, Hamlet, yes, just like the Hamlet of old, but in a new role, is asking these questions, too, because suspicion is necessary in Locus Amoenus, the new novel By Victoria N. Alexander, and you won’t be disappointed by the ironies of this, locus amoenus which generally refers to an idealized place of safety or comfort, usually a beautiful, shady field or open woodland, or a group of idyllic islands, sometimes with connotations of Eden or Elysium, because in this dark comedy, a 9/11 widow and her son, Hamlet, have retreated from Brooklyn to the idyllic rural countryside upstate New York, where for nearly eight years they have run a sustainable farm.
Unfortunately most of the people seem to prefer industrially produced agriculture that robs them of health and happiness and income and Hamlet, who is now 18, is beginning to suspect that something is in fact rotten in the United States of America, when health, happiness and freedom are traded for cheap Walmart goods, Paxil, endless war, standardized curriculum, and environmental destruction. He becomes even more depressed when, on the very day of the 8th anniversary of his father’s death, his mother marries a horrible and boring bureaucrat named Claudius.
His friend Horatio heightens the tone of the drama with conspiracy theories, that when it comes to phony bureaucrats, mindless conformity, complacency as a social rule, and the pressures of political power gone awry, we are in for a delicious tragedy!
Something of an expert on political intrigue and breaking the mirror of illusions in our country please welcome the author of this wonderful new novel, Locus Amoenus, Victoria N. Alexander!