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Meeting with Jessica Bruder – author of “Nomadland” [REVIEW]

As a part of the American Film Festival, the US embassy in Poland organized a meeting with Jessica Bruder- a writer and a teacher in Columbia school of journalism. Her most famous book is called “Nomadland”, which was the main topic of the meeting. She also described the process of writing the non-fictional novel and her personal experience connected to it.

Eye-opening event

I consider the meeting with an author of the “Nomadland” as an eye-opening event. Not only was it an exceptional opportunity to get to know the author, but also a wonderful way to broaden my knowledge of journalism and learn more about the „nomads”.

Listening to a live conversation of such a successful and inspiring personality allowed me to have a better understanding of the emotional attachment of the writer to the book as well as to its characters. The authenticity of her statements made me enjoy even more participating in such an event.

“Nomadland” was published in 2017, which was an outcome of the months of research gathered by J. Bruder. Intending to write a book, she had decided to spend months traveling in a van from coast to coast of the US. The journey she took allowed her to immerse and fuse into the topic of itinerant Americans, who were forced to live in a van after the Great Recession (2007).

Inside look into the life of the “nomads”

The book, which is based on actual events, gives us an inside look into the life of one of the “nomads” – Linda May. This sixty-four-year-old woman is desperately looking for a momentary job while living alone in a small trailer. She represents a large group of seniors, who despite their age, have to work in a highly physical profession in order to survive and make a living.

One of Linda’s jobs takes place in an Amazon warehouse, where unemployed people like her can join a program called CamperForce and earn a minimum wage. In her book, J. Bruder also describes to us the unpleasant realities of capitalism affecting various age groups in different ways. In order to have a better understanding of the topic, the writer herself decides to join the CamperForce and work on the beet farm.

Oscar for the best film

In 2020 the screening of “Nomadland” was released. The film does not dissent from the book very much, although in the movie the light is shed mainly on a character named Swankie, who has a slightly different story than Linda May. A feature of the film worth mentioning is the naturally magnificent landscapes of the desert in Arizona, which are the perfect background for the van camps.

Nomadland has won an Oscar for the best film, a Golden Lion award, and The People’s Choice Award, which proves its success. In the meeting, J.Bruder mentioned that she liked the film and that it was a refreshing experience to watch it after the three years when she published her book.

Melania Rytel, DP 1

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