The film is set in New York in 1929. Maxwell Perkins, a Charles Scribner's Sons successful editor and discoverer of talented authors such as Francis Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, lives in a cottage just outside the city with his wife and five daughters. One day, in his office, he reads the drafts of ''O Lost'', a novel by Thomas Wolfe. Struck by the content, Perkins decides to publish it and begins to collaborate with the author. The novel is eventually published and proves to be a huge success: fifteen thousand copies sold in a single month. Max and Thomas become best friends, while Wolfe's relationship with Aline Bernstein, a married woman twenty years older than he, is severely tested after the publication of Wolfe's novel. Max manages to publish Wolfe's second novel, ''Of Time and the River'', after exhausting revision work that lasts for years. The second novel is also a success.
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