The Black Prince Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Black Prince

Bradley Pearson is a middle-aged would-be writer who falls in love with his friend's young daughter and causes much strife. Bradley Pearson is 58 years old when he quits his job to "write his masterpiece". Pearson has only published three times in his life, but considers himself to be a great unrealized talent. He gets a desperate call from his friend Arnold, a younger man and successful writer, who fears he has accidentally killed his wife in a domestic dispute. Pearson rushes over but the woman, Rachel, is not dead, even though she hit her head badly on a fire poker. Pearson meets their 21-year-old daughter Julien with whom he becomes infatuated. She asks him to teach her to write. He has not very much time to think about this before he is called upon by his sister who has just divorced her husband and attempts suicide in the presence of Bradley and Arthur's family. During his sister's convalescence, Rachel tries to initiate an affair with Bradley, but the older man is unable to perform sexually. Later, when he tutors Julien on Hamlet, his feelings for her become all the more intense. He tries for a time to keep them under wraps, but finally admits to her his obsession with her. Some time passes, and Julien requites his love, admitting as much to her horrified parents. A nonplussed Bradley faces his friends then secretly runs away with Julien to his secret writing cottage that he has rented for composition and love. Their lovemaking is at first unsuccessful, but when Bradley learns of his sister's second and successful suicide attempt, he makes love to Julien with great vigor. A furious Arnold finds the couple and tells Julien of Priscilla's suicide and of Bradley's true age (he told her he was much younger). Julien does not leave with her father but hides in another bedroom and is gone by the next morning. Bradley returns home to find that Rachel has told her daughter about their unsuccessful affair. He retaliates by revealing Arthur's affair with another woman, to Rachel's horror. Bradley decides to find Julien, who he learns has fled to Venice. However, he returns to her parents' house when he hears from Rachel that she has killed Arthur with the same fire poker that injured her. Bradley is ultimately accused of the murder when he is found on the scene and Rachel lets him be found guilty. He has written his manuscript from prison where he soon dies from cancer.
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Best part of story, including ending: I liked the tone of the story, very funny, outrageous, and twisted.

Best scene in story: The scene where Bradley is trying to keep himself from professing love to Julien is so tense. It reminds me of Lolita too.

Opinion about the main character: I like how Bradley does whatever he does with abandon, like he has gotten to a place in life where he feels he has nothing to lose.

The review of this Book prepared by Andrew Black a Level 5 American Goldfinch scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Black Prince

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   upbeat Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Life of a profession:    -   writer Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   licking    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Weiner talk! Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Iris Murdoch Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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