The Night Listener is fictional but based on events in the author's own life. In the story, Gabriel Noone is a professional storyteller with his own radio show called "Noone at Night". When Gabriel recieves a book to possibly promote on the show he reads it as he does most others. But he discovers that this one is different. It is a memoir written by an HIV-positive 13-yr-old incest, rape and sexual slavery survivor named Pete. Pete escaped the horrors of his early childhood to be adopted by therapist Donna Lomax. The memoir was part of his recovery, as was "Noone at Night". Gabriel becomes a father figure to the boy and is drawn into a relationship with him via late night phone calls. Gabriel's friends and then Gabriel begin to question the relationship and who Pete really is.
The Night Listener (2006) - Rated R - 1 hr 31 min
Starring: Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, Rory Culkin, Joe Morton
Directed by: Patrick Stettner Screenplay by: Armistead Maupin, Patrick Stettner, Terry Anderson
Genre: Drama, Thriller
The Night Listener (2000) - 344 pages
Author: Armistead Maupin
Genre: Domestic Fiction
The Night Listener is the first wide release movie in August. I just saw a piece on one of the network newsmagazines about it. The book and the movie are fictional but based on a true account . A "sick" boy made friends with people of influence - and money, of course. In the film and book, the person of influence is radio host Gabriel Noone, played by Robin Williams. In the true account and in the story, no one seems to ever have met the "sick" boy though. He was always too sick and close to death to have visitors - yet he never died. The film and book kick things up a notch and make it into a fast-paced suspense story. Sounds intriguing - perhaps something I'll rent down the road... depending on the reviews. Stars Robin Williams.
One of the more interesting things about the book is that it interweaves bits and pieces from the author's life into the story. So above and beyond the story of the mysterious boy there are real-life connections to the author that are pretty interesting - especially for Armistead Maupin fans. The book is described as a page-turner, which is always fun -- some of my favorite kinds of books.
The movie comes across as mediocre according to most of the critics. Robin Williams character comes across as overly depresses (after going through a tough break-up with his partner) and it lacks the suspense conveyed in the book. The movie's story is intriguing in a bizarre way, just as it is in the book. It's another one of those stories that's so bizarre and disturbing you just can't look away and you want to figure out the mystery behind it. But it appears that sticking around for the bizarre and disturbing mystery in the movie is just not all that fulfilling. So check out the book, but don't expect too much from the movie. Or if you see the movie first, expect great things from the book!