Monday, October 15, 7pm – Fiction
author of Poor Richard’s Lament: A Most Timely Tale ($30.00 Hobblebush Books)
“I wish it were possible…to invent a method of embalming drowned persons in such a manner that they be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for, having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to any ordinary death the being immersed in a cask of Madeira wine, with a few friends, till the time, to be then recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1754
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN has been confined to a private apartment in the Plantation of the Unrepentant for the past two-plus centuries, and has recently received word that his many petitions for final processing have been approved. In the company of two Intermediaries, Ben appears before a panel of examiners in the Celestial Court of Petitions to make his case. His examiners, disconcertingly, are three former arch-adversaries: John Adams, Alexander Wedderburn, and Reverend William Smith. By the end of Ben’s examination, in which the ‘sins of the Pater’ are brought devastatingly to light, Ben fully expects to be cast into the abyss. Instead, he is invited to bear witness to what has become of America in the two-plus centuries of his absence. Ben’s odyssey of witness begins at his birth site in Boston, passes through New York (where Ben upstages a leadership conference at the Waldorf Astoria), and ends, with wrenching poignancy, at his gravesite in Philadelphia. Interwoven into the main story is a second story, beginning in the red-carpeted parlors of the West Wing and ending in the blood-stained streets of West Philadelphia. Eventually, the parallel stories collide, like massive tectonic plates, in a stunning series of shocks and aftershocks. Following in the traditions of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” “Poor Richard’s Lament,” nine years in the making, is an intricately woven, ultimately uplifting tale of revelation and redemption, written in close consonance with the avuncular and aphoristic persona of Benjamin Franklin, Printer.
Tom Fitzgerald led a Huckleberry Finn childhood on the St. Lawrence River before undertaking formal studies in physics, mathematics, law, industrial management, and English. He has served as a door-to-door salesman of home study courses, a vocational counselor for adults and children with developmental disabilities, a stockbroker, the assistant to the president of a large health-care corporation, a lobbyist, a technical writer, and a corporate manager. In the latter two capacities, his employers have included AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, NEC, IBM/Lotus Development, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Tom served as a Navy UDT/SEAL during the Vietnam era, and has swum several long distances, including across the eastern end of Lake Ontario, a distance greater than the English Channel. Once also an avid runner, Tom ran the Boston Marathon three times before a fall on black ice abruptly ended a life-long addiction to endorphins. He and his wife of 44 years, a marriage and family therapist, have three grown sons and three grandsons. They live in New England. He is the author of three works of fiction: “Chocolate Charlie (Warner Books, 1974), “A Matter of Scents” (Pyramid Books, 1974) and “Chocolate Charlie Comes Home” (Warner Books, 1978), as well as several works of nonfiction.