The Vanished, Banished Beautiful American Loser

For one brief, miserable moment, Michael Douglas, the novelist-professor hero of the new movie Wonder Boys, has it all. His wife has left him. His girlfriend, the chancellor of his university, who is married to his department chairman, is pregnant with Douglas' child. His second, never-to-be-finished novel has thickened to page 2,611, single-spaced. His gay editor is in town, hungry both for the new book and for Douglas' best student, a boy who has gunned down the department chairman's dog, who bit Douglas on the leg. The wound has become infected. Douglas limps through the slush of a Pittsburgh winter, dressed...

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