Robert Plunket

American columnist and novelist

Robert Plunket

Robert Plunket was born in Greenville, Texas, in 1945 but raised in Havana and Mexico City. After college he moved to New York and embarked on a successful career as a waiter and office temp, then moved to Sarasota, Florida, where he became Mr. Chatterbox, the gossip columnist for Sarasota Magazine. Plunket is also the author of the novel Love Junkie. He has written for many publications, including Healthy Aging, This Week in Ft. Myers Beach, and Sandbars and Sonnets: The Southwest Florida Poetry Review. He is currently retired and lives in a trailer park in Englewood, Florida, where he enjoys collecting old quilts and raising succulents from scratch.

cover image of the book Love Junkie

Love Junkie

Adored by the likes of Amy Sedaris, Madonna (who optioned the film rights), and Gordon Lish, Love Junkie is Robert Plunket’s cult novel of the heady heyday of gay New York at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic: scandalously long out of print, it is now gloriously reissued for a new generation of readers.

Mimi Smithers, a modern-day Emma Bovary, is a fortyish suburban housewife who has an eye for décor and dreams of hosting lavish cocktail parties. Reflecting on her time in Tehran with her Union Carbide executive husband, she says, “In the waning months of the Shah’s regime, entertaining became more and more difficult. Hams—always a problem in Islamic countries—were as rare as hen’s teeth.” After their move to Westchester, a party she hosts for Mrs. Rockefeller goes south, and she falls into a deep funk. But then life takes an unexpected turn when she tumbles down into the gay rabbit hole of Manhattan and Fire Island society and meets Joel, a porn star with a chest “as smooth as a Ken doll.” Soon she’s helping him with his lucrative mail order business (signed photographs, used underwear, “verbal abuse audiotapes”), and her real dreams and adventures begin.

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cover image of the book My Search for Warren Harding

My Search for Warren Harding

by Robert Plunket

With a contribution by Danzy Senna

When My Search for Warren Harding, Robert Plunket’s glittering story of literary sleuthing and deceit, first appeared in 1983, it garnered immediate and far-reaching acclaim. Frank Conroy at the Washington Post exclaimed, “The author pulled me in so deftly, moved me up an escalating scale of sly hyperbole so cunningly, that after a hundred pages, I seemed to have turned over the keys, so to speak, of my nervous system”; Florence King at the Dallas Times Herald called it “The most exciting event in American letters for a very long time: a momentous book.” More recently, though long out of print, it was canonized in The Guardian’s “1000 Novels Everyone Must Read,” ranked by the Washington Post as one of the top five books of “great American comic fiction,” and praised by Michael Leone in the Los Angeles Review of Books as “a classic picaresque novel in the tradition of Cervantes.”

Set against the fading light of early-1980s Hollywood, our deeply flawed, bigoted, closeted antihero Elliot Weiner is a historian—Harvard BA, Columbia PhD—with a passion for Morris dancing and Warren Harding, “the shallowest President in history.” After Weiner receives a research grant to write a book on the tumultuous life of Harding, he gets wind of a trunkful of the twenty-ninth president’s bawdy billets-doux that is rumored to be fiercely guarded by his ancient mistress Rebekah Kinney on her declining Hollywood Hills estate. Nothing and no one can stand in the way of Weiner getting his paws on the treasure, and along the way, as the words dance across the page, a hysterical, guffaw-inducing punchline around every corner, Weiner reaches new lows of humiliation and self-delusion.

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