Mad Diary of Malcolm Malarkey

Mad Diary of Malcolm Malarkey

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By Mark Axelrod

ISBN: 9781628974423

Publication Date: 3/7/2023


A Gogolian nightmare from the point of view of a small-town English professor.

The Mad Diary of Malcolm Malarkey is a kind of post-modern May-December black comedy about the 60ish, cancer-stricken Oxford-educated, Irish English literature professor Malcolm Malarkey who falls in love with the beautiful, 30ish Italian returning graduate student, Liliana Liliano, who, by then, has tragically lost her husband in an auto accident. Malarkey has no respect for things that are politically correct and often runs into problems with the administration if not the local police, while Liliana, after years of trying to crack the glass ceiling, quits the corporate world and returns to university to pursue her passion: literature. 

 After a relatively quick relationship, they fall in love. Though they have much in common and truly love each other, the potential stumbling block for them is her desperation to get pregnant, especially since she has already had a miscarriage not long before her husband died. Malarkey has already raised a family, and is still ceaselessly harassed by his Brazilian ex and her bevy of blood-sucking barristers, and the thought of starting a family again and potentially leaving Liliana a widow for a second time with a young child, is a major dilemma for him. Try as he might to salvage the relationship, Malarkey eventually loses Liliana because of his multiple impotencies. Though Malarkey loves Liliana deeply, madly, she eventually breaks it off. True love may last forever, but eggs do not. 

Months after her separation, Liliana meets and marries a Florentine who, in rapid succession, impregnates her with the children she most desires. Though Malarkey realizes the break was the best for her, it wasn’t for him and he tries in earnest to move on with his feckless existence, but not before telling her he’ll love her forever.


“An innovative writer, with a postmodern inclination for exotic linguistic labyrinths of the mind into which he loves to encapsulate his own tormented fantasies.”World Literature Today

“A different voice in North American writing … a very special, poignant sense of humor.” —Luisa Valenzuela

Biographical Information

Mark Axelrod

Mark Axelrod is an American writer, playwright and academic, who teaches Comparative Literature at Chapman University. He is the director of the John Fowles Center for Creative Writing, which has received five National Endowment for the Arts Grants. Axelrod has published numerous books on screenwriting and has received awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; the Writers Guild of America, East; the Screenwriters Forum (University of Wisconsin); and the Sundance Institute.