Summary (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Monday Night, Boyle’s sixth novel, is the only one that does not have an autobiographically based American woman as its heroine. Wilt, the main character of Monday Night, is an expatriate newspaperman who has lived in Paris for twenty years. He dreams of writing a great novel, if he can only find the right subject. A seedy, alcoholic, physically repulsive, single-minded, middle-aged man, he believes that he has finally discovered the story that will enable him to realize his dream. He has been led to this conclusion by his chance meeting with Bernie, a young, naïve American doctor who has come to Paris to pay homage to the famous Monsieur Sylvestre, the toxicologist whose testimony has resulted in the conviction and imprisonment—and sometimes execution—of several men.
Wilt is captivated by Bernie’s quest, but he is much less interested in helping the younger man fulfill his goal than he is in his own thoughts, fantasies, and thirsts. Bernie, bewildered and tired, cannot resist Wilt, who drags him from one bar to another looking for leads to the famous scientist. They find his house; Sylvestre is not there, but a strange butler shows them around and obliquely reveals the truth about his employer. As they meet several people who know Sylvestre through various connections, Wilt begins to suspect that the man they are looking for is actually a criminal who has falsified his evidence in order to make up for his own failures in love...
(The entire section is 488 words.)
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