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21ST CENTURY IN LITERATURE
to world literature in prose
produced during the 21st century.
The range of years in 21st century
literature was written from (roughly) the
year 2001 to the present.
2000s (decade) saw a
steep increase in the
acceptability of literature of all
types, inspired by the comingof-age of millions of people
who enjoyed the works of
writers such as C. S. Lewis
and J. R. R. Tolkien in their
The 2000s (decade) also
saw the popularization of
manga, or Japanese
particularly in Englishspeaking nations.
are comics created in Japan, or
by Japanese creators in the Japanese
The medium includes works in a broad
range of genres: action-adventure,
romance, sports and games, historical
drama, comedy, science fiction and
fantasy, mystery, suspense, detective,
horror, sexuality, and
business/commerce, among others.
famous books like Harry Potter
series were converted into movies.
Books on wars, guides for exams, myths,
etc. were frequent sellers in this decade.
Some books were written in simple
English and works of old writers were
translated into language that was easier
Mythology was converted into graphic
novel form to build interest among young
AKA: Clive Staples Lewis
Born: Clive Staples Lewis
29 November 1898
Died: November 22, 1963 (aged 64) in
Occupation: Novelist, scholar,
fiction, children's literature
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Allegory of Love
The Screwtape Letters
The Space Trilogy
C. S. Lewis was a novelist, poet,
academic, medievalist, literary critic,
essayist, lay theologian,
and Christian apologist.
He is best known both for his
fictional work, especially The
Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of
Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and
for his non-fiction Christian
apologetics, such as Mere
Christianity, Miracles, and The
Problem of Pain.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
Set in the fictional
realm of Narnia, a fantasy
world of magic, mythical
beasts, and talking animals,
the series narrates the
adventures of various
children who play central roles in
the unfolding history of that
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
consist of a series of seven fantasy novels for children
by C.S. Lewis.
Book 1 - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
Book 2 - Prince Caspian(1951)
Book 3 - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
Book 4 - The Silver Chair (1953)
Book 5 - The Horse and His Boy (1954)
Book 6 - The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
Book 7 - The Last Battle (1956).
These children's books are not only very popular with
8-12 year olds, but teens and adults also enjoy them.
BOOK 1: The Lion, the Witch and the
It tells the story of four ordinary
children: Peter, Susan, Edmund,
and Lucy Pevensie, who have been
evacuated to the English countryside
from London in 1940 following the
outbreak of World War II. They
Professor Digory Kirke's house that
leads to the magical land of Narnia.
The Pevensie children help Aslan, a
talking lion, save Narnia from the
evil White Witch, who has reigned
over the land of Narnia for a
century of perpetual winter. The
queens of this new-found land and
establish the Golden Age of
Narnia, leaving a legacy to be
rediscovered in later books.
Caspian: The Return to
The Return to Narnia tells the story of the
Pevensie children's second trip to Narnia. They
are drawn back by the power of Susan's horn,
blown by Prince Caspian to summon help in
his hour of need. Narnia, as they knew it, is no
more, as more than 1,000 years have passed
and their castle is in ruins, while all Narnians
have retreated so far within themselves that
only Aslan's magic can wake them. Caspian
has fled into the woods to escape his
uncle, Miraz, who has usurped the throne. The
children set out once again to save Narnia.
Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
The Voyage of the ‘Dawn
Treader’ sees Edmund and Lucy
Pevensie, along with
their priggish cousin,Eustace Scrubb,
return to Narnia. Once there, they join
Caspian's voyage on the ship Dawn
Treader to find the seven lords who were
banished when Miraz took over the
throne. This perilous journey brings them
face to face with many wonders and
dangers as they sail toward Aslan's
country at the edge of the world.
Silver Chair (1953)
The Silver Chair is the first Narnia book
without any of the Pevensie children. Instead,
Aslan calls Eustace back to Narnia together with
his classmate Jill Pole. There they are given four
signs to aid in the search for Prince Rilian,
Caspian's son, who disappeared after setting out
ten years earlier to avenge his mother's death.
50 years have passed in Narnia and Caspian,
who was barely an adult in the Voyage of the
Dawn Treader, is now an old man, while Eustace
is still a child.
Eustace and Jill, with the help
of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, face danger
and betrayal on their quest to find Rilian.
Horse and His Boy (1954)
The story takes place during the reign of
the Pevensies in Narnia, an era which begins
and ends in the last chapter of The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe. A talking horse
called Bree and a young boy named Shasta,
both of whom are in bondage in the country
ofCalormen, are the protagonists. By
"chance", they meet and plan their return to
Narnia and freedom. Along the way they
meet Aravis and her talking horse Hwin who
are also fleeing to Narnia.
Magician's Nephew (1955)
The prequel The Magician's Nephew brings
the reader back to the origins of Narnia where we
learn how Aslan created the world and how evil
first entered it. Digory Kirke and his friend Polly
Plummer stumble into different worlds by
experimenting with magic rings made by Digory's
uncle. They encounter Jadis (The White Witch) in
the dying world of Charn, and witness the creation
of Narnia. Many long-standing questions about
the world are answered as a result. The story was
set in 1900, when Digory was a 12-year-old boy.
He is a middle-aged professor and host to the
Pevensie children by the time of The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe 40 years later.
Last Battle (1956)
The Last Battle chronicles the end
of the world of Narnia. Jill and
Eustace return to save Narnia
from Shift, an ape, who tricks Puzzle,
a donkey, into impersonating the
lion Aslan, precipitating a
showdown between the
Calormenes and King Tirian.
Was born March 27, 1963) is an
American film director,
screenwriter, producer, and
His films have been
characterized by nonlinear
storylines, satirical subject
matter, and an aestheticization
of violence that often results in
the exhibition of neo-noir
Tarantino has been dubbed a
"director DJ," comparing his
stylistic use of mix-and-match
genre and music infusion to the
BY QUENTIN TARANTINO
are a total of seven narrative
1. "Prologue—The Diner" (i)
2.Prelude to "Vincent Vega and Marsellus
3."Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
4. Prelude to "The Gold Watch" (a—flashback,
5."The Gold Watch―
6. "The Bonnie Situation"
7. "Epilogue—The Diner" (ii)
PULP FICTION SUMMARY:
"Pumpkin" (Tim Roth) and "Honey Bunny" (Amanda Plummer)
are having breakfast in a diner. They decide to rob it after
realizing they could make money off the customers as well as the
business, as they did during their previous heist. Moments after
they initiate the hold-up, the scene breaks off and the title credits
Prelude to "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
As Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) drives, Vincent Vega
(John Travolta) talks about his experiences in Europe, from
where he has just returned: the hashish bars in Amsterdam, the
FrenchMcDonald's and its "Royale with Cheese." The pair—both
wearing dress suits—are on their way to retrieve a briefcase from
Brett (Frank Whaley), who has transgressed against their boss,
gangster Marsellus Wallace. Jules tells Vincent that Marsellus
had someone thrown off a fourth-floor balcony for giving his wife
a foot massage. Vincent says Marsellus has asked him to escort
his wife while Marsellus is out of town. They conclude their
banter and "get into character" which soon involves executing
Brett in dramatic fashion after Jules recites a baleful "biblical"
"Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
The "famous dance scene": Vincent Vega (John Travolta)
and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) do the twist at Jack Rabbit
In a virtually empty cocktail lounge, aging prizefighter Butch
Coolidge (Bruce Willis) accepts a large sum of money from
mobster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), agreeing to take a
dive in his upcoming match. Vincent and Jules—now dressed in
T-shirts and shorts—arrive to deliver the briefcase, and Butch
and Vincent briefly cross paths. The next day, Vincent drops by
the house of Lance (Eric Stoltz) and his wife Jody (Rosanna
Arquette) to purchase high-grade heroin. He shoots up before
driving over to meet Mrs. Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and take
her out. They head to Jack Rabbit Slim's, a 1950s-themed
restaurant staffed by lookalikes of the decade's pop icons. Mia
recounts her experience acting in a failed television pilot, "Fox
After participating in a twist contest, they return to the Wallace
house with the trophy. While Vincent is in the bathroom, Mia
finds his stash of heroin in his coat pocket. Mistaking it
for cocaine, she snorts it and overdoses. Vincent rushes her to
Lance's house for help. Together, they administer
anadrenaline shot to Mia's heart, reviving her. Before parting
ways, Mia and Vincent agree not to tell Marsellus of the
to "The Gold Watch"
Television time for young Butch (Chandler
Lindauer) is interrupted by the arrival
of Vietnam veteran Captain Koons (Christopher
Walken). Koons explains that he has brought a
gold watch, passed down through generations of
Coolidge men since World War I. Butch's father
died of dysentery while in a POW camp, and at
his dying request Koons hid the watch in his
rectum for two years in order to deliver it to
Butch. A bell rings, startling the adult Butch out of
this reverie. He is in his boxing colors—it is time
for the fight he has been paid to throw.
"The Gold Watch"
Butch flees the arena, having won the bout. Making his
getaway by cab, he learns from the death-obsessed driver,
Esmarelda Villa Lobos (Angela Jones), that he killed the
opposing fighter. Butch has double-crossed Marsellus,
betting his payoff on himself at very favorable odds. The
next morning, at the motel where he and his girlfriend,
Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros), are lying low, Butch
discovers that she has forgotten to pack the irreplaceable
watch. He returns to his apartment to retrieve it, although
Marsellus' men are almost certainly looking for him. Butch
finds the watch quickly, but thinking he is alone, pauses for
a snack. Only then does he notice a machine pistol on the
kitchen counter. Hearing the toilet flush, Butch readies the
gun in time to kill a startled Vincent Vega exiting the
Butch drives away, but while waiting at a traffic light,
Marsellus walks by and recognizes him. Butch rams
Marsellus with the car, then another automobile collides
with his. After a foot chase the two men land in a
pawnshop. The shopowner, Maynard (Duane Whitaker),
captures them at gunpoint and ties them up in a halfbasement area. Maynard is joined by Zed (Peter
Greene); they take Marsellus to another room to rape
him, leaving a silent masked figure referred to as
"the gimp" to watch a tied-up Butch. Butch breaks loose
and knocks out the gimp. He is about to flee, when he
decides to save Marsellus. As Zed
is sodomizing Marsellus on a pommel horse, Butch kills
Maynard with a katana. Marsellus retrieves Maynard's
shotgun and shoots Zed in the groin. Marsellus informs
Butch that they are even with respect to the botched fight
fix, so long as he never tells anyone about the rape and
departs Los Angeles, that night, forever. Butch agrees
and returns to pick up Fabienne on Zed's chopper.
"The Bonnie Situation"
The story returns to Vincent and Jules at Brett's. After they
execute him, another man (Alexis Arquette) bursts out of the
bathroom and shoots wildly at them, missing every time before
an astonished Jules and Vincent return fire. Jules decides this
is a miracle and a sign from God for him to retire as a hitman.
They drive off with one of Brett's associates, Marvin (Phil
LaMarr), their informant. Vincent asks Marvin for his opinion
about the "miracle" and accidentally shoots him in the face.
Forced to remove their bloodied car from the road, Jules calls
upon the house of his friend Jimmie (Quentin Tarantino).
Jimmie's wife, Bonnie, is due back from work soon, and he is
very anxious that she not encounter the scene. At Jules'
request, Marsellus arranges for the help of Winston Wolfe
(Harvey Keitel). "The Wolf" takes charge of the situation,
ordering Jules and Vincent to clean the car, hide the body in
the trunk, dispose of their own bloody clothes, and change into
T-shirts and shorts provided by Jimmie. They drive the car to a
junkyard, from where Wolfe and the owner's daughter, Raquel
(Julia Sweeney), head off to breakfast. Jules and Vincent
decide to do the same.
As Jules and Vincent eat breakfast in a diner, the discussion
returns to Jules' decision to retire. In a brief cutaway, we see
"Pumpkin" and "Honey Bunny" shortly before they initiate the
hold-up from the movie's first scene. While Vincent is in the
bathroom, the hold-up commences. "Pumpkin" demands all of
the patrons' valuables, including Jules' mysterious case. Jules
surprises "Pumpkin" (whom he calls "Ringo"), holding him at
gunpoint. "Honey Bunny" (whose name turns out to be
Yolanda), hysterical, trains her gun on Jules. Vincent emerges
from the restroom with his gun trained on her, creating
a Mexican standoff. Reprising the biblical passage he'd
recited at Brett's place (Ezekiel 25:17), only this time with
sincerity rather than for effect he explains, Jules expresses
his ambivalence about his life of crime. As his first act of
redemption, he allows the two robbers to take the cash they
have stolen and leave, pondering how they were spared and
leaving the briefcase behind for Jules and Vincent to return to
Marsellus, finishing Jules' final job for his boss.
2001- THE CORRECTIONS
BY JONATHAN FRANZEN
Born: Jonathan Earl Franzen
August 17, 1959 (age 54)
Western Springs, Illinois, USA
Occupation: Novelist, essayist
Genres: Literary fiction
Literary movement: Social
The Corrections (2001), Freedom
BY JONATHAN FRANZEN
It revolves around the troubles of
an elderly Midwestern couple and
their three adult children, tracing
their lives from the mid-twentieth
century to "one last Christmas"
together near the turn of the
The Corrections focuses on the Lamberts, a traditional and
somewhat repressed Midwestern family, whose children
have fled to the east coast to start new lives free from the
influence of their parents. The novel moves back and forth in
time throughout the late twentieth century, depicting the
personal growth and mistakes of each family member in
detail. The book climaxes around the time of the technology
driven economic boom of the late nineties as the troubled
family's problems begin to boil to the surface.
Alfred Lambert is a railroad engineer and the stern patriarch
of the Lambert family, based in the fictional town of St. Jude.
After his children grow up and move to the east coast, Alfred
retires, but soon begins to suffer from Parkinson's disease,
causing his organized and repressed personality to fracture.
Alfred's loyal wife Enid has long suffered from his tyrannical
behavior, but his increasing dementia makes her life still
harder. She is also tortured by the questionable life choices
of her three children and their abandonment of midwestern
Protestant values. As the economic boom of the late nineties
goes into full swing, the family's massive problems become
impossible to ignore.
Gary, the eldest Lambert son, is a successful but
seemingly depressed and alcoholic banker in
Philadelphia who suspects his life is carefully
controlled by his manipulative wife and children. Chip,
the middle child, is a Marxist academic whose
disastrous affair with a student loses him a tenuretrack job and lands him in the employ of a Lithuanian
crime boss defrauding American investors. Denise, the
youngest of the family, is a successful chef in
Philadelphia but loses her job after interlocking
romances with both her boss and his wife.
The separate plot-lines converge on Christmas
morning back in St. Jude, when Enid and her children
are forced to confront Alfred's accelerating physical
and mental decline.
2002 - ATONEMENT
BY IAN MCEWAN
Born: Ian Russell McEwan
21 June 1948 (age 65)
Genre: Short Stories,
Libretto, Fiction, Drama,
HIS NOTABLE WORKS:
First Love, Last Rites 1987
The Child in Time in 1993
Amsterdam in 1998
Atonement in 2002
"Atonement" is a book written in three major parts:
Part One tells the story of one day/night in 1935 at the Tallis family
estate north of London, England. It focuses on Briony Tallis, the thirteenyear-old youngest daughter of three, who aspires to be a writer. She has
written a play to be performed at dinner for the homecoming of her
brother, Leon, and put on by herself and her three cousins who are
staying with the Tallises for the summer because of a divorce between
their parents. Before the play can be properly rehearsed, Briony
witnesses a scene between her older sister Cecilia and the son of the
family charwoman Robbie Turner. What is an innocent act is greatly
misunderstood by the young imagination, and this sets off a series of
events with eternal consequences.
Following the fountain scene, Briony intercepts a letter from Robbie to
Cecilia and reads it. In it, she discovers perverse desires and sets out to
protect her sister from this sex-craved maniac. Before she can do so,
she witnesses the couple making love and mistakes it for assault, further
confirming her assumption that Robbie is out to harm Cecilia.
Before the night is through, her twin cousins run away from home
triggering the rest of the dinner guests to search for them in the dark
night. Briony, who is searching alone, witnesses a rape taking place of
her older cousin Lola. Not one to miss her opportunity, Briony convinces
everyone at the scene, including authorities, that the assailant was
Robbie Turner, and he is taken to jail.
Part Two takes place five years later. It follows Robbie Turner as
he retreats through France as a soldier during the war. The
reader has learned he served three years in prison for his crime
and is now able to exonerate himself by serving in the army.
Separated from his battalion, Robbie is marching through the
countryside with two other corporals trying to get to the
evacuation town of Dunkirk. During his march, Robbie
experiences the atrocities of war, and has plenty of time to
consider his situation as soldier, criminal, and victim of Briony's
false accusations. The three men make it to Dunkirk which is in a
state of complete chaos. Robbie is severely wounded but is
determined to make it home to Cecilia who is waiting for him.
Part Three picks up the eighteen-year-old Briony who has signed
up as a nurse in London. Suffering from guilt for her crime as girl,
Briony hopes nursing will act as a penance for her sin. Briony is
also still writing. She submits a story to a London journal which is
rejected, but in the rejection she is encouraged to develop the
story further as it is quite good. When the soldiers return from
Dunkirk, Briony experiences the horrors of war first hand, and is
humiliated at her failure to perform her duty. At the end of Part
Three, Briony seeks out her older sister. Before she does, she
attends the wedding of Paul Marshall (whom she knows to be
Lola's rapist) and Lola. Briony does nothing to stop the marriage.
When she visits her sister, it is discovered that Robbie is still
alive and living with Cecilia. This makes Briony happy to see.
She does not so much as ask for forgiveness from the two lovers
(who refuse it anyhow) as simply admit her guilt and seek
counsel on what she can do to make it better. Robbie and Cecilia
give Briony a list of instructions to follow that will help clear
Robbie's name. Briony agrees to do each one, and heads back
to work in London. The last we see of Robbie and Cecilia are on
the tube station platform.
The final section of the boo, London, 1999, is a letter from the
author to the reader. It is revealed here that the author is Briony
herself. She explains that she was able to write the war parts of
the book with the aid of letters form the museum of archives and
a pen-pal relationship with one of the corporals with whom
Robbie marched. Briony attends a birthday party/family reunion
at her old home, the original scene of the crime. She also reveals
that she is dying. In a final twist, Briony informs her reader that
she has made up the part about visiting Cecilia and Robbie in
London and how both people died in the war. Her act to let their
love last forever in the pages of her book will be her final
atonement to her crime.
2003 - ROMAN TRIPTYCH (MEDITATION) BY
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Birth name: Karol Józef Wojtyła
Born: 18 May 1920
Wadowice, Republic of Poland
Died: 2 April 2005 (aged 84)
Apostolic Palace, Vatican City
Nationality: Polish (with Vatican
Native name: Polish: Jan Paweł
Church: Roman Catholic Church
Papacy began: October 1978
Papacy ended: 2 April 2005
Successor: Benedict XVI
Paul II is considered one of the most
influential leaders of the 20th century.
He was one of the most travelled world
leaders in history, visiting 129 countries
during his pontificate.
In1978, became the first non-Italian pope in
more than 400 years.
He was a vocal advocate for human rights
and used his influence to effect political
He died in Italy in 2005. It was announced in
July of 2013 that he would be declared a
saint in April of the following year.
Triptych is the spiritual
testament in poetry of the man who
will surely come to be known as
John Paul the Great. Fully illustrated
in colour and with an Introduction
by the then Cardinal Joseph
Lawrence "Larry" Lessig (born June 3, 1961) is an
American academic and political activist.
He is a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on
copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum,
particularly in technology applications.
He is director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at
Harvard University and the Professor of Law at Harvard
Previously, he was a professor of law at Stanford Law
School and founder of the Center for Internet and Society.
Lessig is a founding board member of Creative Commons
and the founder of Rootstrikers, and is on the board of
He is on the advisory boards of the Democracy Café,
Sunlight Foundation and Americans Elect. He is a
former board member of the Free Software Foundation,
Software Freedom Law Center and the Electronic
Born: October 10,1930
Hackney, east London, England
Died: 24 December 2008 (aged 78)
Caused of his Death: liver cancer
Occupation: Playwright, screenwriter, actor, theatre director, poet
o Companion of Honour (2002)
Nobel Prize in Literature (2005)
Légion d'honneur (2007)
David Cohen Prize (1995)
Laurence Olivier Award (1996)
Vivien Merchant (1956–1980; divorced)
Lady Antonia Fraser (1980–2008; his death)
One son with Merchant,
six stepchildren with Fraser
Harold Pinter, CH, CBE (10 October 1930 – 24
December 2008) was a Nobel Prize-winning
English playwright, screenwriter, director and actor.
His best-known plays include The Birthday Party
(1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal
(1978), each of which he adapted for the screen.
His screenplay adaptations of others' works include
The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The
French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial
(1993), and Sleuth (2007).
He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television,
and film productions of his own and others' works.
Pinter received over 50 awards, prizes, and other
honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in
2005 and the French Légion d'honneur in 2007.
Born : Charles McCarthy
July 20, 1933 (age 80)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Occupation: Novelist, playwright
Genres : Southern Gothic, Western, Post-apocalyptic
Suttree (1979), Blood Meridian (1985), All the Pretty
Horses (1992) (Border Trilogy), No Country for Old
Men (2005), The Road (2006)
Spouse(s): Lee Holleman (1961–1962; divorced)
Annie DeLisle (1967–1981; divorced)
Jennifer Winkley (1997–present)
Children: Cullen McCarthy, son, b. 1962 (with Lee
John McCarthy, son, b. 1998 (with Jennifer
2008 - 2666: A NOVEL
BY ROBERTO BOLAÑO
Born: Roberto Bolaño
28 April 1953
15 July 2003 (aged 50)
o Caused of his Death:
Bolaño Ávalos (28 April 1953 – 15
July 2003) was a Chilean writer, author of
novels, short-stories, poems, and essays.
In 1999, Bolaño won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize
for his novel Los detectives salvajes (The
In 2008 he was posthumously awarded the
National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for
his novel 2666, which was described by board
member Marcela Valdes as a "work so rich and
dazzling that it will surely draw readers and
scholars for ages.
"He has been described by the New York Times
as "the most significant Latin American literary
through a wide
array of characters,
periods, and stories
The title of 2666 is
typical of the book's
I. "The Part about the Critics" describes a group
of four European literary critics who have forged
their careers around the elusive German novelist
Benno von Archimboldi. Their search for
Archimboldi ultimately leads them to the Mexican
border town of Santa Teresa in Sonora.
II. "The Part about Amalfitano" concentrates on
Oscar Amalfitano, a mentally unstable professor
of philosophy at the University of Santa Teresa,
who fears his daughter will be caught up in the
violence of the city.
III. "The Part about Fate" follows Oscar Fate, an
American journalist for an African-American
interest magazine, who is sent to Santa Teresa to
cover a boxing match (despite knowing very little
about boxing) but becomes interested in the
IV. "The Part about the Crimes" chronicles the
murders of dozens of women in Santa Teresa
from 1993 to 1997. It also depicts the police force
in their mostly fruitless attempts to solve the
V. "The Part about Archimboldi" reveals that the
mysterious writer is Hans Reiter, born in 1920 in
Prussia. This section explains how a provincial
German soldier on the Eastern Front became an
2009 - THE HUMBLING
BY PHILIP ROTH
Born: Philip Milton Roth
March 19, 1933
Newark, New Jersey,
Genres: Literary fiction
Claire Bloom (19901994)
PHILIP ROTH’S WORK:
Humbling is a
novel by Philip Roth
in the fall of 2009 by
It is Roth's 30th book
and concerns "...an
aging stage actor
whose empty life is
altered by a
THE HUMBLING SUMMARY:
Axler is a famed sexagenarian stage actor
who suddenly and inexplicably loses his gift. His
weak attempts at portraying Prospero and
Macbeth on stage at the Kennedy Center in
Washington lead to poor reviews, sending Axler
into a profound depression and cause him to give
up acting and contemplate suicide with a shotgun
he keeps in his attic. His wife, Victoria, a former
ballerina, is unable to deal with Axler's depression
and moves to California, where their son lives.
Axler checks himself into a psychiatric hospital on
the advice of his physician and stays there for 26
the hospital, Axler meets another patient, Sybil
Van Buren, who tells him about catching her second
husband sexually abusing her young daughter. She
expresses shame at not immediately reporting her
husband or removing him from the home and admits
to attempting suicide. Sybil asks Axler whether he
would be willing to kill her husband and he tells her
he fears he would "botch the job".
after his stint in the hospital, Axler's agent,
Jerry Oppenheim, visits him at his upstate New York
home to tell him about an offer to play James Tyrone
in Long Day's Journey into Night. Axler refuses,
fearing another failure. In the fan mail Oppenheim
brings, Axler finds a letter from Sybil, thanking him
for listening to her problems in the hospital. She
says she did not recognize him at the time but
decided to write him after catching one of his old
movies on TV.
Mike Stapleford, the 40-year-old daughter
of two actors he performed with around the time
she was born, pays Axler a visit at his house.
Pegeen has just moved nearby to work as a
professor at a Vermont women's college after
ending a six-year relationship with a woman who
decided to undergo sex reassignment surgery to
become a man. Pegeen's job was secured after
she slept with the school's "smitten" dean, Louise
Simon and Pegeen begin an affair despite
Pegeen's having lived as a lesbian for the
previous 17 years. Louise is furious that Pegeen
Months later, Louise calls Pegeen's parents in Lansing,
Michigan, to tell them that their daughter is now sleeping
with Axler. Pegeen is distressed that her parents have
learned about the relationship she wanted kept secret.
Her father, Asa, tells her he disapproves because of the
age difference but Simon suspects he merely envies his
professional success. Asa directs community theater in
Axler reads in the local newspaper that Sybil has shot and
killed her estranged husband. He contacts Sybil's sister
and offers to help with her murder defense.
One night, Pegeen "offers" Axler a 19-year-old college
student of her acquaintance named Lara. Lara becomes a
fantasy of his and a character in Pegeen's sexual roleplaying. Soon after, while Axler and Pegeen are dining
out, he notices Tracy, a young woman getting drunk at the
restaurant bar, and they take her home for a threesome.
Axler asks her why she agreed to go
home with them, and she admits she recognized
him as a famous actor. After this adventure, Axler
feels rejuvenated and decides he wants to
perform in Long Day's Journey after all. He also
decides that he wants to father a child with
Pegeen and visits a fertility specialist without
Two weeks later, Pegeen ends their relationship,
telling Axler she "made a mistake." He accuses
her of leaving him to be with Tracy and believes
Pegeen's parents have turned her against him.
He calls her parents, shouting at them in an
angry tirade. After the call, Axler kills himself with