The Empty Chair (Paperback)

Two Novellas

By Bruce Wagner

Plume, 9780142181232, 304pp.

Publication Date: December 30, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (12/20/2013)

List Price: 17.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A profound and heart-wrenching work of spiritual storytelling from the internationally acclaimed author of Dead Stars
Celebrated for his “up-to-the-nanosecond insider’s knowledge of the L.A. scene” (The Washington Post), Bruce Wagner takes his storytelling in a radically new direction with two linked novellas. In First Guru, a gay Buddhist living in Big Sur 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 a fictional Wagner by two strangers on opposite sides of the country, years apart from each other, these stories illuminate the random, chaotic nature of human suffering and the miraculous strength of the human spirit.

About the Author

Bruce Wagner is the author of Dead Stars, Memorial, The Chrysanthemum Palace (a PEN/Faulkner fiction award finalist), Still Holding, I’ll Let You Go, I’m Losing You, and Force Majeure. He lives in Los Angeles.

Praise For The Empty Chair: Two Novellas

"[Wagner] possesses a fluent ability to move aback and forth between the satiric and the sympathetic, the scabrous and the tender."
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Wagner’s book deftly illustrates how the quest for spirituality and self-realization underscore one’s understanding of the purpose of life.”
Publisher’s Weekly
“While Wagner’s trademark scathing satirical skills are in full force thanks to his sprightly word play and jaundiced observations, his purposeful exploration of the nature and importance of storytelling takes him in a subtly nuanced new direction.”—Booklist
“Lushly embroidered with allusions to the Beat Generation…Wagner meditates on our fundamental cravings for connections—both human and divine—and meanings—both personal and cosmic—with wit, compassion and a sharp eye for the lies we tell ourselves.”—Kirkus, STARRED review