Download for free from GoogleDrive, as a gift from Ben Jorgensen.
Nominated for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize 2016
Literary Fiction Book Review award for “excellence in literary fiction.”
In this dark comedy, a 9/11 widow and her son, Hamlet, have retreated from Brooklyn to the idyllic rural countryside upstate, where for nearly eight years they have run a sustainable farm. Unfortunately their outrageously obese neighbors, who prefer the starchy products of industrial agriculture, shun their elitist ways (recycling, eating healthy, reading). Hamlet, who is now 18, is beginning to suspect that something is rotten in the United States of America, when health, happiness and freedom are traded for cheap Walmart goods, Paxil, endless war, standard curriculum, and environmental degradation. He becomes very depressed when, on the very day of the 8th anniversary of his father’s death, his mother marries a horrid, boring NIST bureaucrat named Claudius. Things get even more depressing for Hamlet when his friend Horatio, a conspiracy theorist, claims Claudius is a fraud. The deceptions, spying, corruption, will ultimately lead, as in Shakespeare’s play, to tragedy.
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.
Locus Amoenus uses hilarity and conspiracy theories to present the tragicomedy of a contemporary America that is beyond belief. An important contribution to contemporary American fiction. -William Irwin Thompson, Wild River Review
This is Hamlet reimagined as a truther. The protagonist isn’t just feigning madness–he’s genuinely losing his mind. -Kirkus
A witty novella that unflinchingly examines the dark roots of industrial agriculture, pharmaceutical conglomerates, and standardized curriculum. A brilliant modern parallel to Shakespeare’s timeless work. –Literary Fiction Book Review
A clever and engaging novel…Alexander has a free-spirited style that entertains on every page. –Likely Stories Book Review, KWBU Heart of Texas Public Radio
A faint, distant but playfully updated echo from the Western World’s most famous bard.–Woodstock Times
Until now, the only 9/11 themed novel of high literary quality was Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge. Locus Amoenus is the best fictional treatment of 9/11 yet. It’s hilarious, darkly ironic, playful, deeply moving. -Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today
The book’s conclusion, particularly the final pages, are phenomenal. I reread those last pages more than once, laughing giddily at the audacity, at the perfect marriage of theme and execution –Luxury Reading
Alexander brings Shakespeare into the post-9/11 world we currently experience and sows an emotionally powerful geopolitical drama. -Equal Time for Freethought, WBAI radio NYC