Chronology of events in the Ishmael trilogy

The following is a list of events in the time frame of Ishmael (published in 1992), The Story of B (1996), and My Ishmael (1997). Much of the chronology remains ambiguous in the former two, though is specified in much more detail in My Ishmael.[9]

  • 1930s: Ishmael is born in equatorial West Africa, captured, and sent to live in a U.S. zoo for "several years"
  • Late 1930s: Ishmael begins to live in a traveling menagerie for "3 or 4 years"
  • 1939 or 1940: Ishmael is sold to Walter Sokolow
  • 1955: Art Owens is born Makiadi Owona in the Belgian Congo
  • 1960: The Belgian Congo becomes Zaire
  • c. 1950s: Charles Atterley is born in the U.S
  • 1960s: Walter Sokolow marries Grace, who bears a single child, Rachel
  • 25 February 1979: Julie Gerchak is born in the U.S.
  • Early 1980s: Art Owens studies in Belgium, becomes a dual citizen of Zaire and Belgium, travels to the U.S., and attends Cornell University, where he meets Rachel Sokolow, who is completing her master's degree in biology
  • c. 1980s: Charles Atterley becomes Ishmael’s pupil
  • 1985: Walter Sokolow dies and Ishmael begins living in a variety of new locations
  • 1987: Art Owens returns to Zaire, leaving his U.S. investments with Rachel Sokolow
  • 1989: Ishmael sets up his "office" in Room 105 of the Fairfield Building
  • 2 March 1989: Art Owens participates in the revolution that proclaims the new Republic of Mabili; he becomes Mabili’s minister of the interior
  • November to December 1989: Art Owens flees Mabili and returns to the U.S., beginning work with the Darryl Hicks Carnival and eventually buying off the Carnival’s animal menagerie
  • 1990: Art Owens becomes acquainted with Ishmael through Rachel Sokolow
  • c. 1991: Charles Atterley begins lecturing in Europe
  • January 1991: Rachel tests positive for HIV and dies that same year
  • 1991–2: Events of Ishmael and most of My Ishmael:
    • 1991: Alan Lomax and then Julie Gerchak become Ishmael’s pupils
    • 29 October to 2 November 1991: Julie Gerchak, with the secret help of Art Owens, visits the Republic of Mabili and successfully persuades its president, Mokonzi Nkemi, to authorize Ishmael’s entry into his country and subsequent release back into the African jungle
    • Late 1991–1992: Ishmael begins living in the Darryl Hicks Carnival menagerie and becomes ill with pneumonia
    • 1992: Alan Lomax believes Ishmael to have died from pneumonia and publishes Ishmael
    • March 1992: Ishmael recuperates and by this date has returned to Africa
    • Summer 1995: Julie Gerchak begins writing My Ishmael
  • 10 May to 8 June 1996: Events of The Story of B:
    • 19 or 20 May: Jared Osborne becomes Charles Atterley’s pupil
    • 22 May: Charles Atterley is assassinated in Germany
  • 28 November 1996: Julie Gerchak completes all but the final chapter of My Ishmael
  • 1997: Julie Gerchak adds a final chapter, “The Waiting Ends,” to My Ishmael and finally publishes the book with permission from Art Owens

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