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Joshua Kent Bookman Author Appearance
October 26, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Join author Joshua Kent Bookman for a discussion of his recent book close to elsewhere in the Library’s Marc Jacobs Reading Room on Saturday, October 26 at 3:00 pm.
Written as a vortex of whimsical stories across ten time zones, close to elsewhere opens up a critical dialogue about the migration smog felt by a couple of Italian-French-Bengali-Swedish-American characters.
Bookman was born in New England, moved to Italy, then France, back to the U.S. – along the way living and working in villages, towns, gentrified neighborhoods, major cities, and a megapolis (Los Angeles). In the process he has observed the discrete aspects of what makes a “culture” – what makes us “human” – as we are buffeted by the fluctuations in competition, globalization and the Internet.
Each culture teaches the characters a discrete strategy to manage change. In the book, Thomi (the Frenchman) is hired by his girlfriend Elisa (the American). Together they join forces to try to make sense of her mother’s emigration to the U.S., of which Elisa knows little. close to elsewhere ’s syncretization with Swedish-, Italian-, and Bengali-American writings helps the characters live between historic and contemporary prejudices, but their emotions and the plot lines continue to splinter. The characters struggle with this fragmentation as they erode into 0s and 1s. To read close to elsewhere is to discover a strategy of living in the 21st century that is neither a practice of mindfulness, nor an application of data science – it’s a gizmo for using all the senses to achieve a deftness of being. In this period of great instability, we have a choice to use fear, or imagination.
Joshua Kent Bookman is an American artist and writer, born and living in Massachusetts. Taste, smell, and emotion play a central role in his works and his environments, helping him syncretize moments and reflections from real and imaginary places.
Bookman is devoted to multicultural education, and views his writing as an extension of multisensory communication – moments of taste, touch, and smell, however brief, however foreign to inherited ways of seeing, hearing, and thinking. His writing also reflects his experience of living and working in France and Italy, his adventures elsewhere, and the various jobs he has tried – agricultural laborer, high school teacher, and tennis instructor. Emphasis on tried.
He is also a devoted traveler and language learner, and has studied languages at the Middlebury College Italian School, Syracuse University in Florence, and Alliance Française in Bordeaux. He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and M.F.A. from ArtCenter.
He is currently a teaching professional at the Provincetown Tennis Club. close to elsewhere is Bookman’s first novel.