In this beautifully nuanced 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, reject 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, where 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 eighth anniversary of his father's death, his mother marries a horrid, boring bureaucrat named Claudius.
Things get even more depressing for Hamlet when he learns from Horatio, a conspiracy theorist, that Claudius is a fraud. The deceptions, spying, and corruption will ultimately lead, as in Shakespeare's play, to tragedy.
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Ben Jorgensen brings Hamlet-inspired story to life
Hamlet Update Upstate
This is the first audio version of a book by Victoria Alexander that I have heard
His thoughtful and versatile presentation of the text brought the characters off the page and onto the stage.
I thought that his narration was like a performance, with one actor playing several parts. A video version would be splendid!
I'm not sure moving would be quite the right word...disturbing perhaps. It's a clever book and not sentimental.
I would hope in addition to the download that there is, or will be, a DVD audio book version - something one could give to people as a gift.
- David Micklethwait