In the small college town of Hayden, Illinois, Morgan and Zhenya have settled into a loveless, stagnant marriage. He is a former labor organizer who now works as a garbage collector, and she is a political science professor and the daughter of a prominent Russian emigre. The suicide of their son, Philip, some ten years before has left the pair emotionally dead, lacking even the courage or initiative to separate from each other. Their surviving child, Emma, has become a teenage mother and refuses to reveal the identity of her child's father." "Into this sullen mix marches the Century's Son, Peter Ivanovich Kamenev, Zhenya's exasperating father. A Russian writer and an impresario of history, Peter Ivanovich claims to have had the opportunity to assassinate Joseph Stalin, to have marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in the American South, and to have visited a strip club with Arkansas governor Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, Zhenya has discovered several inconsistencies in her father's invented history, and she also discovers the limits of her patience with his neediness and self-dramatization." Peter's arrival, though it tears at the family, also rejuvenates it. He forces Morgan and Zhenya to confront themselves, their children alive and dead, and their lives past, present, and future, as lived, as planned, and as imagined. He embraces Emma and her child; he recognizes and exploits all of the small hypocrisies and foibles of daily life. His deceitful, smooth-talking vibrancy invigorates and infuriates everybody around him.
Used availability for Robert Boswell's Century's Son
April 2002 : USA Hardback
July 2003 : USA Paperback