Jonfaith's Reviews > A Moment in the Sun

A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles
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Dec 29, 12

Read from June 25 to July 05, 2011

There was an element of Papa's dictum in my reading of John Sayles' doorstop qua cinder block of a narrative, it sat gradually until suddenly I devoured its 1000 pages. My cheekiest nod to the novel is that its as if the Chums of Chance (Pynchon's creations in Against The Day) chose to chronicle American Race and Imperium. That said, Sayles never appears overwrought nor resigned to types or constructs in establishing his dramatic web.

As many may know, I once considered African-American history to be a desired career path. The plausibility of that now strikes me as either ancient or a thumbnail sketch I was considering for a screenplay. My focus and affairs drifted quite far afield and I was thus caught unawares by how the description of the purge of Wilmington affected me. Not that I find such removed or distinct from any other pogrom, far from it, but as domestic political discourse appears as of late to be saturated with racial codes, I do wonder.

a postscript would simply nudge and nod. Glancing back at the work, I sense a lingering both above and within the influences of Vidal and Vollmann. We are prodded, we remember and thus imagine.
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06/25/2011 page 22
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Jonfaith Despite my ostensible opposition to literary trends, I find myself uncomfortably often following in their wake. McSweeney's released a massive novel by John Sayles, an auteur I was introduced to about 15 years ago and who I've followed ever since. The subject hovers about race and labor relations around the US from 1897 to 1902 (I believe), the Spanish-American war, and the subsequent Filipino insurrection against the Yankee "liberators." The NYTBR charged it was guilty of having equal inspiration in both Pynchon (there is a great deal of singing in the novel) and the sentimentality of Harriet Beecher Stowe. I am just under half way through, there can be no judgement, just yet, but I find the novel cares but refuses to simplify or distort, whatever the consequences.

Nick I agree about the Pynchon inspirado aside from the singing too. Specifically, the chapters with 'the yellow kid' and the 'Great Humorist'. I can think of worse inspirations than Pynchon, though. Aside from that, anyone that expresses a proclivity to Against the Day, this would be the first novel I'd recommend...

Jonfaith Indeed, I mwas musing that if the Chums of Chance would've penned andventure concenring American Imperium, it might translate into something like this.

Nick I just noticed that one pg 567, a bicycle racer is named Pynchon.

Jonfaith Yeah - the NYTBR gave me the heads up for that.

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Have you seen Sayles' film "Matewan"? Recommended.

Jonfaith No but I did see that our local indie has it for rent; the film also features Will Oldham who is from here.

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Jonfaith wrote: "No but I did see that our local indie has it for rent; the film also features Will Oldham who is from here."

I wish had known who Sayles was when his book was first published. I would've eaten it up. I only knew he was a film director and that fact disappealed to me. Had I known he was behind Matewan...

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