King Lear, William Shakespeare's tragedy about a king who disperses his kingdom to his daughters only to find that they cared more for his wealth than for him. He finds himself abandoned in his old age. Japanese director Akira Kurosawa reinterpreted the Lear story in his 1985 film Ran, which involves ancient Japanese royalty in a similar inheritance dispute. American author Jane Smiley adapted the Lear legend in her 1991 novel A Thousand Acres.
John Updike's 1960 novel Rabbit Run concerns a disaffected salesman who abandons his alcoholic wife and their child to look for "freedom,'' only to return, guilt-ridden and still dissatisfied.
William Faulkner's character, Quentin Compson, who appears in his novels The Sound and the Fury and Absalom, Absalom, kills himself when he recognizes humankind's essentially evil nature.
In his popular Tales of the City series Armistead Maupin offers touching and realistic vignettes of the homosexual lifestyle in San Francisco.
Brett Harvey's The Fifties: A Women's Oral History (1993), recounts the stories of several women as they look back on their coming of age in 1950s America.