The professor is old. His health is poor. He has written four novels. All are out of print. He has one marriage behind him. This marriage produced an only child, a daughter. His daughter is about to turn 40. She has no children and wants one before it's too late. She has a lover who wants no children. The professor dislikes his daughter's lover. The lover, however, admires the professor's last novel, The Lost City. The professor's work has another admirer—a young woman. The young woman is a graduate student. The young woman entered his life from out of the blue. His forgotten books give meaning to her existence. She looks up to him. She is writing a book about him. She wants to revive his career. She has pretty eyes and fresh lips. She will do anything he wants her to do.
The professor of this story is Frank Langella; his daughter is Lili Taylor; his daughter's lover is Adrian Lester; and his young admirer is Lauren Ambrose.
In Grassroots, Ambrose will play our paper's former arts editor Emily Hall. (The universe is getting smaller.) I will be reading with Emily Hall's husband, Phil Campbell (the author of the book that forms the base for Grassroots), next week, July 8th, at the always aristocratic Sorrento.