Sayles is best known for his independent films, among them Return of the Secaucus 7, City of Hope, and Lone Star. He has won many awards at film festivals and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Lone Star.
But he is also the author of novels and short stories, including Dillinger in Hollywood and The Anarchists' Convention. According to a reviewer in Publishers' Weekly, his new 955-page novel, published by McSweeney's, "recalls E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime, Pynchon's Against the Day, and Dos Passos's USA trilogy."
OK, I'm in.
So let's hope Sayles's new book is one of my picks this summer. But I ran into trouble trying to find it.
My choices for bookstore-browsing are: Barnes & Noble.... Oh, and did I say Barnes & Noble? There is also Beaverdale Books, a tiny, clubby bookstore where you end up having to order everything.
Borders recently closed here.
And did I say we have Barnes & Noble?
There were no copies. I searched the store. I checked the computer. The clerk offered to order it for me.
I politely said no, explaining I wanted to LOOK at it before I bought it. He said he would order a copy anyway.
But it's puzzling. I doubt that I'm the only person in town who wants to read Sayles's novel. Does the local B&N have any say or is a kind of "B" stock automatically shipped to small cities?
I can't find an excerpt online, either. Not at Amazon or McSweeney's.
Here is a slapdash note to McSweeney's.
Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree and Shakespeare Wrote for Money are brilliant. Dave Eggers's What Is the What fascinated my family a few years ago.
But I can't find a copy of A Moment in the Sun in XYZ town. Would it be possible to read a short excerpt online before I order it?
Oh, wait. I broke down and ordered it from Amazon.
P.S. Amazon is running low: it says it will ship in 10-13 days.