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The Empty Chair

Two Novellas

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Hardcover published by Blue Rider Press (Blue Rider Press)

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About This Book
Composed of two companion novellas, The Empty Chair is a profound, heart-wrenching piece of spiritual storytelling from Bruce Wagner, the internationally acclaimed author of such novels as Dead Stars, I’m Losing You and Force Majeure. In First Guru, a fictional Wagner narrates the tale of a Buddhist living in Big Sur, who achieves enlightenment in the horrific aftermath of his child’s suicide. In Second Guru, Queenie, an aging wild child, returns to India to complete the spiritual journey of her youth. Told in ravaged, sensuous detail to the author-narrator by two strangers on opposite sides of the country, years apart from each other, both stories illuminate the random, chaotic nature of human suffering and the miraculous strength of the human spirit. A deeply affecting and meditative reading experience, The Empty Chair is an exquisitely rendered, thought-provoking, and humbling new work.
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Composed of two companion novellas, The Empty Chair is a profound, heart-wrenching piece of spiritual storytelling from Bruce Wagner, the internationally acclaimed author of such novels as Dead Stars, I’m Losing You and Force Majeure. In First Guru, a fictional Wagner narrates the tale of a Buddhist living in Big Sur, who achieves enlightenment in the horrific aftermath of his child’s suicide. In Second Guru, Queenie, an aging wild child, returns to India to complete the spiritual journey of her youth. Told in ravaged, sensuous detail to the author-narrator by two strangers on opposite sides of the country, years apart from each other, both stories illuminate the random, chaotic nature of human suffering and the miraculous strength of the human spirit. A deeply affecting and meditative reading experience, The Empty Chair is an exquisitely rendered, thought-provoking, and humbling new work.
Product Details
Hardcover (304 pages)
Published: December 20, 2013
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Imprint: Blue Rider Press
ISBN: 9780399165887
Other books byBruce Wagner
  • I'll Let You Go

    I'll Let You Go
    A Novel
    Twelve-year-old Toulouse “Tull” Trotter lives on his grandfather’s vast Bel-Air parkland estate with his mother, the beautiful, drug-addicted Katrina—a landscape artist who specializes in topiary labyrinths. He spends most of his time with young cousins Lucy, “the girl detective,” and Edward, a prodigy undaunted by the disfiguring effects of Apert Syndrome. One day, an impulsive revelation by Lucy sets in motion a chain of events that changes Tull—and the Trotter family—forever. In this latter-day Thousand and One Nights, a boy seeks his lost father and a woman finds her long-lost love . . . while a family of unimaginable wealth learns that its fate is bound up with two fugitives: Amaryllis, a street orphan who aspires to be a saint, and her protector, a homeless schizophrenic, clad in Victorian rags, who is accused of a horrifying crime.

    Dead Stars

    Dead Stars
    Dead Stars is Bruce Wagner’s (I'm Losing You) most lavish and remarkable translation yet of the national zeitgeist: post-privacy porn culture, a Kardashianworld of rapid-cycling, disposable narrative where reality-show triumph is the new American narcotic. At age thirteen, Telma is famous as the world’s youngest breast cancer survivor until threatened with obscurity by a four-year-old Canadian who’s just undergone a mastectomy … Reeyonna believes that auditioning for pregnant-teen porn online will help fulfill her dream of befriending Jennifer Lawrence and Kanye West … Biggie, the neurologically impaired adolescent son of a billionaire, spends his days Google Map-searching his mother-who abandoned home and family for a new love … Jacquie, a photographer once celebrated for taking arty nudes of her young daughter, is broke and working at Sears Family Portrait Boutique … Tom-Tom, a singer/drug dealer thrown off the third season of American Idol for concocting a hard-luck story, is hell-bent on creating her own TV series in the Hollywood Hills, peopled by other reality-show losers … Jerzy, her sometime lover, is a speed-freak paparazzo who “specializes” in capturing images of dying movie and television stars … And Oscar-winning Michael Douglas searches for meaning in his time of remission. While his wife, Catherine, guest-stars on Glee, the actor plans a bold, artistic, go-for-broke move: to star in and direct a remake of Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz… There is nothing quite like a Bruce Wagner novel. His prose is captivating and exuberant, and surprises with profound truths on spirituality, human nature, and redemption. Dead Stars moves forward with the inexorable force of a tsunami, sweeping everyone in its fateful path. With its mix of imaginary and real-life characters, it is certain to be the most challenging, knowing, and controversial book of the year.

    Force Majeure

    Force Majeure
    A Novel
    Bud Wiggins dreamed of achieving fame as a screenwriter. He almost made it. Instead, he finds himself free-falling through a world of hallucinatory absurdity, low comedy, and epic degradation. A Hollywood bottom-feeder who moonlights as a limo driver to pay the bills, both tormented and vicariously aroused by his contact with the industry's elite, Mr. Wiggins bears poignant, paranoid witness to the horror and hysteria that are by-products of "the Business." His phantasmagoric saga, by turns picaresque, pornographic, and poetic, Force Majeure is the first of a projected quartet called "Scriptures" that will chronicle the misadventures and transcendental fall and rise -- comic, tragic, and tragicosmic -- of Bud Wiggins, Quixote of Babylon.

    Memorial

    Memorial
    A Novel
    A NATIONAL BESTSELLER In Memorial, acclaimed author Bruce Wagner offers his most extraordinary and affecting book to date -- a profound story of family and faith, and a masterpiece of American fiction. Joan Herlihy, a young architect desperate to win the commission for a highly coveted Tsunami memorial, has a secret with life-changing consequences. Her brother Chester is keeping secrets as well: he's become addicted to Internet-prescribed painkillers after being injured on a "reality" show. Their estranged father lives nearby -- happy for the first time in his life, Raymond's carefully laid plans for retirement and a second marriage are thrown into shocking disarray when the police break into his apartment in a botched raid. Through it all, Marjorie Herlihy, the lonely, indomitable matriarch, falls prey to a dizzying confidence scheme that will test her powers of survival. Wagner's searing portrait of an old woman trying to save her family and live out her dreams is among the most tender and savage in contemporary literature. Deeply compassionate and violently irreverent, Memorial is a testament to forgiveness, and the majestic struggle toward transcendence -- a luminous tribute to spirituality in the twenty-first century.

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