Harlem Valley News May 11, 2015 Local author, Victoria N. Alexander has a new novel coming out on June 12th called Locus Amoenus—set in Amenia and the Harlem Valley region Amenia, NY. The hero of Victoria N. Alexander’s novel Locus Amoenus may be the new Holden Caulfield for the post-9/11 generation, according to Kirkus Reviews. In Alexander’s witty but dark political satire, a 9/11 widow and her son, Hamlet, move to beautiful Amenia in upstate New York where they run a sustainable farm—but Hamlet becomes depressed when, on the 8th anniversary of his father’s death, his mother remarries a boring bureaucrat named Claudius. Then Hamlet learns from Horatio, conspiracy theorist, that Claudius is a fraud and something is rotten in the United States of America. With extraordinary gallows humor, Alexander looks at the tragedy that is contemporary politics, as it plays out in any town America where health, happiness and freedom have been traded for cheap Walmart goods, Paxil, environmental degradation, and endless war. Continue reading
Alexander’s newest novel Locus Amoenus (Permanent Press, 192 pages) finds Hamlet taking place in rural America against the backdrop of 9/11 and the Iraq War. “Something is rotten in the United States of America.” So says Alexander’s narrator, a young man named Hamlet. After his father dies on 9/11, Hamlet and his mother, Gertrude, move to upstate New York, where they maintain a farm. After several years, Gertrude meets Claudius, a bureaucrat and scientist who contributed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s World Trade Center report. Yes, this is Hamlet reimagined as a truther, and in this retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy, the protagonist isn’t just feigning madness—he’s genuinely losing his mind.
Locus Amœnus is now available on Amazon.
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.
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.
The Permanent Press, which will be publishing my novel Locus Amœnus, announced its 2015 titles today. I am pleased to find myself among some very talented writers. I am also happy to discover that several of the sixteen novels on the list have anti-war themes; one takes on drone warfare, another economic disparity; a couple of them are pretty quirky; one even invokes Hamlet, as mine does.
I like the company.
From the catalogue:
LOCUS AMŒNUS by Victoria N. Alexander Continue reading
Statues of mythological and/or fictional characters and themes can be found in state and federal parks all over the country, like this statue of Neptune at a city park in Virginia Beach. As far as I know atheists don’t try to get these removed. The American Atheist Organization is suing to remove a cross from the WTC memorial. The “cross” is actually a section of welded I-beam that was found sticking up from the rubble after 9/11. Witnesses found the coincidental resemblance to Christ’s cross significant. While I don’t agree that such coincidences are supernaturally caused, I think they are interesting. Significant coincidences are at the heart of all “chance” phenomena which lead to the emergence of life, language, and art. (That’s my natural philosophy in a nutshell.) I could no more reject public tributes to Christianity than I could to any great work of fiction. Somehow it just doesn’t piss me off. I understand it as art. It doesn’t bother me that others take it differently. (I even have a portrait of a black Madonna hanging in my home. It’s a really cool painting that my great-grandmother brought over from Poland.) That’s why I think there is something up with AAO’s president David Silverman who isn’t able to detach himself emotionally from the power of religious symbolism. He released this statement about the WTC cross Continue reading