Victor Carson's Reviews > A Moment in the Sun

A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles
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Apr 06, 12

bookshelves: history
Read from March 26 to April 05, 2012

A panoramic, almost epic portrayal of the U.S. at the time of the Spanish American War: the gold rush in the Yukon; in the South, the years following reconstruction; the systematic and violent intimidation of black voters in North Carolina; and the start of the war, in Cuba and then in the Philippines. Many characters appear and reappear, over the nearly 1,000 pages of the novel: blacks, whites, Cubans, and Filipinos. Although the pace sometimes slows, the characters, the events, and entire historical era is very well captured by the author. I especially like the lingo of the characters in the Yukon; of the newsboys in New York City; and of the soldiers in Cuba and the Philippines. I am reminded of the few episodes of "Deadwood" that I saw on television a couple of years ago. Perhaps, the author, John Sayles, was a writer for that show, since I know that he does write for the movies.

Although the author could have told the story more succinctly, his total immersion in the events results in a verisimilitude that compels you to move forward within the sweep of history that he imagines.
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