Synopses & Reviews
The sequel to the Hollywood classic The Player
, and a satire on power, wealth, and family in the twenty-first century.
Published to great acclaim and adapted into a celebrated movie by Robert Altman, The Player defined the new Hollywood and became a cult classic.
In The Return of the Player, it's fifteen years later and film executive Griffin Mill is back. After getting away with murder, Griffin has risen up the ranks of the studio but not to the top. Now he wants out. Hollywood has changed. The business has peaked; box office is down. Griffin is convinced that Hollywood is dying because the world is dying.
Griffin needs a safe haven, a private island somewhere in the South Pacific with an airstrip and high ground. But his life has become expensive. As the novel opens, Griffin is broke, down to his last $6 million. He has one last desperate plan, to quit the studio and convince Phil Ginsberg, an almost billionaire who aspires to "really savage wealth," to become his partner.
Ginsberg and his partner, Gunther Hitt, take the bait. They see the potential in Griffin, a master of stories, and hire him to write one starring their money. It looks like Griffin's dream is on track, but while his ideas percolate, his personal life is falling apart. He is impotent and allergic to Viagra. His second marriage is broken, perhaps permanently, and he's beginning to think he shouldn't have divorced his first wife. Child Services is threatening to put his daughter into protective custody after his wife beats her in public. And if that's not enough, Griffin even has to commit another murder when his plan nearly collapses.
With The Return of the Player, his fourth novel, Tolkin again delivers a brilliant, incisive portrait of contemporary society gone out of control. But as the Player says, "Happy endings. Always happy endings."
"More than a decade has passed since Griffin Mill's murderous ascent to Hollywood power in The Player. Now, with his career stalled and only $6 million in the bank, he is, by Hollywood standards, broke. The 12-year-old daughter he sired with his then mistress (now discontented wife), Lisa, is a brat who reverts to noxious baby talk when she doesn't get her way. His two older children hold him in cold contempt. He suffers from erectile dysfunction (his allergy to Viagra a wicked double whammy) and lusts after his ex-wife, June. In Griffin's mind, all of Western civilization is in decline, and his fantasies feature a Pacific atoll stocked with food and weapons. Step one in his plan to gain control hinges on leveraging the politics of elite Los Angeles private schools. (He commits manslaughter in the process.) Griffin's ploy snags the attention of a voracious entertainment magnate who plucks Mill from his stagnation and taunts him into concocting a multibillion-dollar idea. Mill's antiheroic effort to wring love and meaning from a loveless and meaningless life is heartfelt and cynical, resulting in a powerful dark comedy that transcends the shopworn genre of Hollywood satire. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This crisp amorality tale boasts enviable verbal energy....Whenever its moribund souls aren't soliloquizing at ear-splitting volume and exhausting length, this is vivid, nasty fun." Kirkus Reviews
"Among the challenges of writing a sequel is that of finding something new to say about a character readers have already come to know....Tolkin admirably performs this task." Los Angeles Times
"It's a schizophrenic shaggy-vampire story, part evil comedy and part righteous protest, about which a reader is perfectly justified in being of two minds. Call it a highly dispensable must-read." San Francisco Chronicle
"[W]ith its gimlet eye on today's spiritual weariness and cash frenzy, is very much a novel of this time and this moment." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"Tolkin's understated style and over-the-top characters continue to amaze. Only in Hollywood could this bizarre tragicomedy seem even remotely plausible." Library Journal
Fifteen years after the events of The Player, film executive Griffin Mill, having gotten away with murder, returns, hoping to convince fabulously wealthy Phil Ginsberg to become his partner, while his personal and professional lives begin to fall apart, forcing him to once again consider murder as an option. 50,000 first printing.
Published to great acclaim and adapted into a celebrated movie by Robert Altman, The Player defined the new Hollywood and became a cult classic. In The Return of the Player, film executive Griffin Mill, who got away with murder, is out to make a killing. Determined to escape a Hollywood and a world he believes are dying, Griffin needs a safe haven, a private island somewhere in the South Pacific with an airstrip and high ground. But hes broke, down to his last $6 million. He has one last desperate plan, to quit the studio and convince Phil Ginsberg, an almost billionaire who aspires to really savage wealth,” to become his partner. Meanwhile, his personal life is falling apart. He is impotent and allergic to Viagra. His second marriage is broken, perhaps permanently, and hes beginning to think he shouldnt have divorced his first wife. And if thats not enough, Griffin even has to commit another murder when his plan nearly collapses. With The Return of the Player, his fourth novel, Tolkin again delivers a brilliant, incisive portrait of power, wealth, family, and contemporary society gone out of control.
About the Author
Michael Tolkin is the author of The Player, Among the Dead, and Under Radar. He wrote the screenplay for the Robert Altman film The Player, and wrote and directed The Rapture and The New Age.