This play traces a Platonic love affair between the 70-year-old Sam Clemens/ "Mark Twain", the most famous literary man of his time, and a naively innocent 15-year-old schoolgirl who reminds him of his deceased daughter Suzy. In 1906 Clemens is a brilliant but dispirited public man in the twilight of his career—his great successes like Huckleberry Finn are behind him—and susceptible to the charms of girls young enough to be his granddaughters, whom he invites to join a "prestigious" and "exclusive" club called the Aquarium Club, in which Sam Clemens is the only adult member. Based upon a little-known and scandalous interlude in the later life of Samuel Clemens/ "Mark Twain" this play explores the poignancy of an elderly man's passionate love for a young girl and the disaster that results when his love is reciprocated
"Wild Nights! has been called by Fantastic Fiction "Joyce Carol Oates' most original and haunting work of the imagination" and by the Washington Post "imaginative, impressive work that spotlights another side of Oates's talent."