When Brooke Wyeth returns home to Palm Springs for Christmas in 2004, she is unable to relax into the prickly, yet loving, embrace of her wealthy California family. Brooke has been in continuous rebellion against her conservative parents -- father Lyman, a former Republican ambassador, and mother Polly, a brittle perfectionist-- for a long time, moving to the East Coast and adopting liberal political beliefs, but she still craves their approval. She is anxious about revealing her publishing plans for her new memoir, about the suicide of her beloved older brother, Henry, who was involved in the anti-war bombing of a draft board during the Vietnam War and brought disgrace to his unforgiving mother and father. Over the course of Christmas Eve, Brooke spars with her parents, reminisces with her charming younger brother Trip, and receives the dubious emotional support of her alcoholic aunt, Silda. When the news of Brooke’s memoir is revealed, Polly and Lyman are faced with a choice -- either reveal a shocking secret that they have kept for decades, or risk exposure when the world reads their story. Spanning the international disasters of war, the bitter feuds of American politics, and the intricate and equally bitter dynamics of one family’s love and grief, Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities is a scintillating and sharply observed dark comedy, with themes of depression, addiction, family and memory.
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