SYNOPSIS: The Proprietor of the Theatre of Life, a novel of 70,000 words by Donna LeClair

CHANTICLEER Manuscript Overview 

The Proprietor of the Theatre of Life by Donna LeClair

[Chanticleer Editor: Carrie Meehan]

This is no ordinary book and the word "extraordinary" can't begin to do it justice. It's a gift for anyone fortunate enough to read it and libraries around the globe should add it to their collections. It should be available to everyone. Emma is a highly sympathetic character, an everywoman, in need of answers. The reader learns as much as she does about individual and universal struggles on earth, the lessons to be gleaned from suffering, and the value of sharing our stories. Presenting these lessons in the format of a novel is ingenious; they'll be accessible to readers who might not have had a clue how to compile, organize, and synthesize so much historical and spiritual scholarship. So many, too many, are suffering from grave, debilitating effects of PTSD; I wish this book could be gifted to them. It is a literary balm.

Plot summary: Restless introvert, Emma, is at a movie theatre like none other, one in which she'll view her own life as well as those of six prominent women who have already transitioned to the other side. The theatre's proprietor, Julie, explains to her that she's there to serve Emma upon her journey. And journey Emma does, through different theatres with Rosalind "Goat Lady" Russell, Anne Frank, Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan, Maya Angelou, and Sobanfu. Some. They see excerpts of their lives on screen and contemplate the role of suffering in human existence and the lessons it offers to those seeking meaning. Emma learns the importance of stepping outside her own life, of considering the experiences of others, to fully understand the pain present in her own life. Ultimately, she transitions from this life to the next, having considered universal questions about the meaning of existence and the enormous, resonating power of the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Characters: The book is enormously powerful in large part because of the careful selection of women accompanying Emma on this journey. Different ages, different eras, different countries of origin, different religions, all unique and extraordinary women, yet women who, as a mosaic, seek universal truths. In addition to Emma and her cohort, there is Julie, serving and self-sacrificing, whose true identity is both obvious and mysterious, the divine presence referred to by many names, always present, even when the women thought they'd been suffering in solitude. Julie is the quiet presence that grows, almost in reticence, throughout the novel until one realizes she is immense; she is everything.

Author Comments:

When The Proprietor of the Theatre of Life summons Emma Hockaday’s presence at a succession of movies bonded by sentient beings, Emma’s problematic world loops past in mystical flickers on the screen. Lives of visionaries from distinct eras, continents, and thresholds play out on the screen while agendas laze, sleeping in fragmented essence. Lessons unfold of diverse ethnicities, life conditions, and testimonies as the dynamics of wisdom and inspiration emerge, activate, and expand.

To a wandering spirit, there are moments so surreal, they could have come and gone without a thought. But, to The Proprietor of the Theatre of Life, it is a crosswalk between disciplined mind and hidden possibilities for eternal bliss, offering fresh pinnacles of observation, reality, and vibration.

Incorporated into the art of storytelling, the airing of historical facts and elevated fiction brings Emma closer to the sacredness of broader stories: the compassion of forgiving and liberating ourselves and others of the grief plaguing lineages for generations; helping humankind evolve into a unified whole and spirit wing into eternity. Gifting survival of this illusion christened earth. The mentality of one of many intricate worlds.

A golden offering from The Proprietor of the Theatre of Life.

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. 

Vera Nazarian

Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.

Yehuda Berg

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.


Hermann Hesse

One glance at a book and you will hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.


                                                                                           Carl Sagan