Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Looking for John Sayles's A Moment in the Sun

I spent the afternoon looking for John Sayles's new novel, A Moment in the Sun.  

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.

John Sayles
I respect Sayles.  I respect McSweeney's. My husband cheered when he found out the book was not available for the Kindle or the Nook.   I love long novels.  And I need to read something by a man, because only 32% of the books I've read this year are by men.  (My husband won't allow me to count Anna Karenina or Bleak House, because I've read them three times in five years.)

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.

Dear 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.  


Tony S. said...

John Sayles is one of my very favorites, both as a fiction writer and as a movie maker. But I'm not sure that as a blogger I can work in a 995-page novel and still blog regularlly. His writing kind of reminds me of Richard Price. Unlike you I prefer short novels to long novels usually.

Frisbee said...

The blogging is a challenge. You could read, say, 10-20 pages a day of Sayles, and read your other books also, and do your blogging with occasional references to Sayles.

And then I'd have company reading it on the web!