In her cunning follow-up to Southland, Revoyr returns to L.A., this time to when Sunset Boulevard was "just a dirt road" and Jun Nakayama was a famous silent film star. Prompted by a journalist's visit in 1964, 42 years after he left the screen for good, Jun revisits his youth in Japan, his discovery at L.A.'s Little Tokyo Theater, his rise to stardom and the scandalous events that led to his abrupt retreat from public life. Mixing real people with fictional characters like principled Japanese actress Hanako Minatoya, troubled starlet Elizabeth Banks (not the one in Seabiscuit), ingénue Nora Minton Niles and dashing director Ashley Bennett Tyler, Revoyr creates a vibrant portrait of a time when the film studio was "a place of serious work." As Jun reveals the secrets he has kept for decades, he uncovers new twists in his own history and comes to terms with other painful experiences he has repressed, namely his loneliness and the effects of the anti-Japanese racism he mistakenly believed he could overcome by being "as agreeable-and American-as possible." The occasional awkward transition between present and past notwithstanding, Revoyr beautifully invokes Jun's self-deceptions and his growing self-awareness. It's an enormously satisfying novel. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Age of Dreamingby Nina Revoyr
This is a riveting, wise, and gorgeous novel.”Mary Yukari/i>/i>
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The Age of Dreaming is a masterpiece of the sort that doesn’t just seduce the readerit leaves you transformed. Nina Revoyr deserves to be counted among the top ranks of novelists at work today.”Jerry Stahl, author of I, Fatty
This is a riveting, wise, and gorgeous novel.”Mary Yukari Waters
Brilliant and original. . . . The carefully restrained voice of its narrator recalls Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.”Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize winner
Jun Nakayama was a silent film star in the early days of Hollywood, but by 1964, he is living in complete obscurityuntil a young writer, Nick Bellinger, reveals that he has written a screenplay with Nakayama in mind. Jun is intrigued by the possibility of returning to movies, but he begins to worry that someone might delve too deeply into the past and uncover the events that led to the abrupt end of his career in 1922. These events include the changing racial tides in California and the unsolved murder of his favorite director, Ashley Bennett Tyler.
The Age of Dreaming is part historical novel, part mystery, and part unrequited love story.
Nina Revoyr was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a Polish-American father, and grew up in Japan, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles. She is the author of two previous novels, The Necessary Hunger and Southland, which was a Book Sense 76 pick, winner of the Ferro-Grumley and Lambda Literary awards, a finalist for an Edgar Award, and one of the Los Angeles Times’ Best Books of 2003.” She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Tokyo-born Revoyr's third novel (after the award-winning Southland) tells a deceptively simple story about the first days of Hollywood. Through the unfolding recollections of Jun Nakayama, a Japanese immigrant-turned-A-list actor, it zooms in on the sexism and anti-Asian bigotry of the early 20th century. It is 1964, and a zealous reporter tracks down the now-retired 73-year-old Nakayama for an article he's writing. At first, Nakayama is reluctant to be interviewed, but he ultimately can't resist the spotlight. Still, considering that his acting career ended in 1922, he finds the journalist's interest baffling. As they talk, the writer's queries send Nakayama on a quest that uncovers long-buried secrets. The unsolved murder of his favorite director, coupled with sexual peccadilloes, police payoffs, and massive cover-ups, are woven into a tale showcasing human foibles and heroism. In the end, Nakayama discovers what it means to take personal responsibility and stand up for what's right. Fast-moving, riveting, unpredictable, and profound; highly recommended for all fiction collections.
Eleanor J. Bader
- Akashic Books
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Meet the Author
Nina Revoyr was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a Polish-American father, and grew up in Japan, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles. She is the author of two previous novels, The Necessary Hunger and Southland, which was a BookSense 76 pick and won the Ferro Grumley and Lambda Literary Awards.
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I came to this through Lisa See's recommendation on B&N Review who said both her mother and father, with very different tastes liked this. Lovely writing--very reserved to match the main character, interesting time periods,and history. I learned much about the treatment of the Japanese in America in the early 20th century.
I read a lot. And I can honestly say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. The writing style is excellent and the characters - especially the narrator - are well drawn and involving. I came upon this book in B&N - having never heard of it - and once I started it I could not put it down. I do not know why this author is not more well known - she certainly deserves accolades
I was deeply engrossed in this book and never wanted it to end. It's beautifully written and a great story.
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