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An afternoon of Culture and Art with Writer and Painter Michael G. Kent

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Bonjour Books DC

3758 Howard Avenue

Kensington, MD 20895

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An Afternoon of Culture, Language and Art with Writer and Painter Michael Kent

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Washington, DC - based writer, painter translator (and musician!) Michael G. Kent enjoys a special place at Bonjour Books DC. Not only do his original paintings adorn our walls, but his two novels are inspired by his unique bilingual, bicultural upbringing in America and France, a natural fit for our bookshelves!

On Saturday, December 13th Michael will present and sign his books, "The Big Jiggety" and "Pop the Plug", and also do a "gallery" talk about his inspired art.

Come enjoy an intimate afternoon of language, culture and art in conversation with Michael Kent @Bonjour Books DC!

Michael's books (and paintings!) are available for purchase now at Bonjour Books DC!

KIRKUS REVIEW of "The Big Jiggety"

A coming-of-age novel follows a sexually frustrated teenager who leaves France to study in America. When Albert Nostran departs his family home in the Saint-Germain-sur-Morin commune of France to attend college in Missoula, Montana, he expects romance and reconnection with his roots. His father, an American-born journalist with a fiery temper, has always maintained a sense of nationalism and encouraged the wisecracking, horny teen to live in the U.S. Albert remembers “when growing up in France how I cherished the idea of coming to America, being in America…careen down ten-lane freeways in a Pontiac GTO convertible pursued by the Hell’s Angels and the Dalton Brothers headed by Marlon Brando, solve mysteries with Philip Marlowe and Raymond Chandler, take a dip in the Mississippi.” What follows is a fairly standard, but amusing and well-written tale that finds Albert navigating cultural differences and desperately chasing women for sex. At one point, he complains: “All my life people have told me to relax. I do not feel comfortable relaxing.” Set in 1977, the tale sprinkles in a number of cultural references, from Elvis Presley to La Fontaine, bringing a welcome perspective to a time that is often romanticized. Kent’s (All of the Night, 2015) keen observational skills provide wonderful snapshots of America from an outsider’s perspective. Dissecting U.S. television commercials, Albert muses: “Diarrhea medication and disarmament negotiations blend together to produce a most unsavory guacamole.” But at times, the protagonist’s reflections give way to curmudgeonly pontification (“Universities corrupt adolescents to transform them into insipid and self-righteous adults”), which distracts from the steady pace of the hijinks-filled tale. Albert is perhaps at his harshest when judging women. At one point, criticizing a plain-looking student he nevertheless pursues, he notes: “She typified some of the women of the New World who although oozing with ugliness remain arrogant.” Kent’s novel fits neatly within the tradition of well-crafted, meandering prose that tackles a young man’s maturation through the consumption of culture and women, which may leave some readers uncomfortable. Still, Albert’s experiences with American culture are drawn sharply into focus when the author smartly transports him back to Europe by the end of the story for a summer vacation. The student’s measured insights, shared with friends and family, and his subsequent capers make for a charming and compelling read.A fun and earnest tale for fans of international adventures, dry humor, and sexual awakenings.

MICHAEL KENT, WRITER

(B. 1958, Boulogne, France) writer, artist, musician, published Les Maléfices du fardeau d'Atlas, his first book of poetry in 1985. He has written five novels, a number of short stories, and his verse has been published in Volumes 14, 15, and 16 of The Poet's Domain. His writing and, on occasion, art work have found a niche in Happy, Kumquat Meringue, Kinesis, The Quill, The Urban Age, Voie Express USA, The Threshold and The Writer's Round Table. A former journalist, he studied poetry at the University of Montana under Richard Hugo and edited a literary magazine in Brunswick, Me. He currently earns a living in Washington, DC as a French-English interpreter/translator and receiving royalties from a textbook, Voie Express USA. In 2005, Kent published his first novel, The Big Jiggety.

MICHAEL KENT, PAINTER

Michael Kent was barely old enough to stand when his father set him up with a brush, tubes, a palette, and paper, and said: "Paint!" Despite the occasional foray into other realms, Kent has complied ever since.

Born in France in a family of New World expatriates, he studied art there and in Brunswick, Maine where he perfected his sense of color and draftsmanship. It was however a couple of photography classes, taught by John McKee, which were to have the greatest influence on his sense of composition and subject matter.

A parsimonious exhibitor, he has nonetheless shown his works in Rockport, Massachusetts, Georgetown's defunct Biograph Theater, the A-Salon Gallery, Del Ray Artisans, M.O.C.A., at the Alliance Française of Washington, the bookstore Chapters, and the perenial Artomatic. His works can be found in private collection on three continents.

A Washingtonian for over 30 years, Kent has also illustrated his three semi-autobiographical novels: The Big Jiggety, Pop the Plug and All of the Night. On weekends, other than explore the world on foot, bicycle or automobile, or face the easel, he sometimes plays guitar with a couple of friends.

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Bonjour Books DC

3758 Howard Avenue

Kensington, MD 20895

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