Viewers devoured every detail of the films in question, scoured reference books, voraciously searched for information using their phones and tablets, and yelled out whatever clues they thought would be helpful in figuring out the origins and identities of extremely rare and ancient silent films. It was fun! In anticipation of that event, I checked out five books about silent film from my university library. All of them nonfiction except for one. I didn't get to thoroughly read any of the nonfiction.
There just wasn't time. I leafed through them and gleaned the most I could for about two days. I didn't want to pack them all in my luggage. One book I did decide to take was the one novel I picked out because I love reading fiction on planes. I thought it was perfect! It had the right amount of intrigue and it sounded like an original story. I wasn't disappointed to have chosen this book. The details of early Hollywood were fun and engaging to read. I really like thinking about what life must have been like during that time--the excitement of developing a new artistic medium, the freedoms, the parties, the glamor.
However, as I was able to see in some clips from the silent film workshop and in the book, the evidence of racism during that time was beyond shameful. It is absolutely painful to imagine. Nina downplays this in her storytelling, but the insinuations of marginalization and hate toward minorities in the ss are still very apparent in the narrative.
Nina Revoyr's writing style is very eloquent. There is no doubt that I was absolutely entranced by Jun Nakayama's narration from the very beginning.
The Age of Dreaming by Nina Revoyr | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®
I was drawn in by her characters and the story overall. There were gradual changes, of course, that eventually reveal tragedies that echo some of the more harrowing downfalls of stars from that era. Jun as an old man is not who he seems, does not like to draw attention to himself, who is wracked by internal scars from his past. However, most of the people he encountered in his life are not who they seem, either. Jun is the hero of his story, but he is by no means completely moral and good.
He is morally ambiguous and that is what rings most true about this book. It was a pleasure to read. Enough so that I will probably try reading more from this author. View all 8 comments. Feb 06, Beth Barefoot rated it really liked it. I want a companion book all about Hanako Minatoya. Jun 25, Christina rated it it was amazing. I found this book on the dollar shelf at a local used bookstore. I don't even remember why I picked it up.
I needed something to read for a trip, and it was a dollar, and the premise sounded intriguing I like Old Hollywood stuff if it's done well and when I read a test page I thought the writing was pretty good. I didn't even bring it on that trip, but I'm so glad I picked it up last weekend. That was officially the best dollar I've ever spent. I don't even know how to describ I found this book on the dollar shelf at a local used bookstore. I don't even know how to describe how much I loved it.
- The Resurgence of the West.
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- Sarò padre (Atlanti illustrati medi) (Italian Edition).
- NPR Choice page.
- Dreaming the Future.
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It fully occupied my brain while reading it and it's still bouncing around in there while I digest a few twists and turns. When I put it down I couldn't wait to get back to it. I read the first 50 pages on a train packed with tourists, and hardly noticed. It absorbed me from the first. A good deal of this had to do with the narrator. On the cover of my book, someone compared the narrative voice to "Remains of the Day," which I haven't read. What Jun's narration reminded me of was Iris of Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin," a self-deceiving, self-important elderly figure looking back on the past.
I wanted to get to the secrets, of course, but I almost wanted him to hang on to his delusions. I liked him so much. But once we got through all of the revelations, I still liked him. This book was so satisfying, start to finish. And, gosh - heart-warming. Heart-warming without being cheesy. I could tell that the author had a lot of affection and sympathy for her characters, as imperfect as they were. She managed, too, to create one really good person, Hanako Minatoya, and make her one of those rare all-around-good characters who doesn't make the reader want to gag.
There were a couple of flattish characters, but because the whole book was from Jun's perspective, I could forgive it. The contemporary ones solely from the end of things, not his colleagues who appeared at both ends of time were, with one important exception view spoiler [Charlie hide spoiler ] , a little one-dimensional. But I believed that was mostly because of what Jun was choosing to tell us. Pretty much everything to do with the character Nora was deliberately, I believe squirm-worthy: Jun may describe her as having gone insane since the pivotal murder, but if Nora Minton Niles was ever sane in any part of the book, I am the ghost of Errol Flynn.
When I was in college, one of my English major friends told me that if I was ever stuck for a good bullshit phrase when analyzing literature, I should use "the human condition. I don't think I ever resorted to that, or wanted to although I thought it was pretty funny. But wouldn't you know that's kind of what I want to say now, no bullshit?
Jun is so incredibly human: the way we like to present ourselves to self and others as inherently dignified and rational, but a certain amount of reflection and revelation will always unveil the petty, self-indulgent, mistaken and occasionally catastrophic choices we've made and will make. But for Jun, and all of us, this book seems to say, it's never too late to redeem those choices.
Mar 10, Mary McCoy rated it it was amazing. During a time when Japanese Americans living in Los Angeles could only live in a few designated neighborhoods, and whites agitated for a Constitutional amendment to bar Japanese immigrants and their American-born children from attaining citizenship, Jun Nakayama becomes one of Hollywood's biggest and most unlikely stars. He appears in over 60 films, tours cross-country selling war bonds, appears on the cover of Photoplay, and makes women swoon in the theatre aisles. But then in , shortly af During a time when Japanese Americans living in Los Angeles could only live in a few designated neighborhoods, and whites agitated for a Constitutional amendment to bar Japanese immigrants and their American-born children from attaining citizenship, Jun Nakayama becomes one of Hollywood's biggest and most unlikely stars.
But then in , shortly after the murder of acclaimed director Ashley Bennett Tyler, Jun's career suddenly, mysteriously ends. Jun becomes a recluse, his old friends abandon him, he never appears in another film -- and he never tells anyone the reason why. When the book begins, it's , and little has changed for Jun; however, everything is about to.
A silent movie theatre is opening on Fairfax, and an eager reporter named Nick Bellingham approaches Jun for an interview about the old days. Jun refuses outright, but Nick is persistent. Eventually, he reveals the real reason he's been pursuing Jun -- he's written a screenplay, has a studio interested, and wants Jun to star.
The role is exactly the kind that always eluded Jun during his film career -- dignified, complex, sympathetic -- and he's intrigued enough to sit down with Nick. The silent film historians who have written about Jun by blame his disappearance from the screen on a lack of good roles for Asian actors. However, no one knows the truth, and when a studio head begins digging up dirt, Jun realizes he can't relive his glory days without revisiting their darker moments.
Discovered in a theatre in Little Tokyo, Jun quickly becomes a sex symbol, enjoys the company of white starlets, and frequently plays villainous characters that offend the Japanese-American community. Though he prides himself in avoiding the worst kinds of "houseboy" roles, his career stands in sharp contrast to his friend and foil, the Japanese actress Hanako Minatoya.
At first, Hanako is his idol, then his mentor; however, their friendship becomes strained as the anti-Japanese sentiment in Hollywood grows more virulent. Hanako knows the score, and isn't afraid to stand up to the studios, while Jun lives in a state of denial, believing that his stardom will spare him. In the end, though, it can't.
And while many clues signal the cause of Jun's downfall in advance, his inability to see them for himself make the eventual revelation as shocking for readers as it is for Jun. The narrative voice Revoyr creates for Jun is masterful, stretched taut with restrained emotion, longing, and lost opportunity.
Revoyr also depicts early Hollywood with exquisite detail, rendered even more so by Jun's attempt to revisit some of his old haunts only to find them turned derelict. Though the book is many things -- an examination of racial prejudice, a murder mystery, an account of a too-forgotten era of moviemaking -- each element of the story fits together seamlessly. And although it's the story of a man who has lost nearly everything, it's not a book that dwells in shadows and loss; the resolution is such a piece of beauty and four-square perfection, it will take your breath away.
Oct 14, Betty rated it really liked it Shelves: book-poc-challenge , Setting: Los Angeles in the 20's and 60's. Reason for Reading: 50 book project, book 41! Nine books to go! Relevance to the Project: I never gave silent films much thought. This was a really interesting exploration of what it was like at the beginning of film, seen through the lens of a protagonist who really has quite a lot he's trying to avoid thinking about.
Finished In: It took me a bit to get going with this book - all in all I think it took me around a week and a half to read it. Pages: Copyright Date: Cover: All in sepia tones except for a block with the author's name, it shows an old-fashioned, empty movie theater. Epigraph: "That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts. But like many loves that are forbidden or that carry the tint of shame, I'd been relinquished in the face of public disapproval.
Best part: This is a toss-up. On the one hand the prose is amazing. On the other hand I loved the way Revoyr makes up fictional silent movies for her protagonist to have starred in, carefully describing the plots, cast, and shooting. Worst part: The protagonist's avoidance of topics that stir up old feelings for him is extremely cleverly done and also in keeping with his character - but as we begin to realize just how much he's been hiding, from himself as well as us, it's a bit uncomfortable.
It's meant to be, I believe. Imaginary Theme Song: I'm imagining an orchestral piece, the type that used to accompany silent movies. This is an amazing book but it is not exactly fun. Recommended for: Those who enjoy haunting, lovely literary fiction will want to move it to the top of their lists. Mar 13, Anna rated it liked it Shelves: march I love early film history.
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It's one of the most fascinating topics ever because of all the scandalous things back then that are common today. Jun Nakayama used to be a nationally beloved actor. Especially for a Japanese person, he was highly successful. Despite being at the top of his game, he suddenly stopped acting in Ever since then he disappeared into Hollywood's shadow. We fast forward the the story' I love early film history. We fast forward the the story's present time, where he is interviewed about his career. During this time we revisit his past and the events leading up to his sudden retirement which all revolve around the murder of an esteemed director, Ashley Bennett.
Ashley is a dude by the way. I forgot British people considered that a unisex name. Heck even Gone with the Wind has a male Ashley and that's like my absolute favorite book. The flashbacks in this book were the best. You actually feel like you're in the past. It was well researched. I kept on waiting for them to mention Rudolph Valentino, one of the hottest and best silent film stars ever.
Too bad he died at Look at that FACE! I just didn't like how the book was printed. It's not a long book but the margins could've been thicker? Just my own personal pet peeve. Aug 28, Racheal rated it liked it Shelves: adult-fiction. I really enjoyed this story! I have to say, after reading several of the reviews I find that I don't really agree with any of the criticisms people have put forth.
For one, the narrator may feel stilted, aloof or whathaveyou, but to me it makes complete sense considering he is a 70 Japanese man born around the turn of the century who has spent 40 years suppressing his memories, feelings and desires. This is a perfectly real and believable person to me and if his narrative had been easy or self a I really enjoyed this story! This is a perfectly real and believable person to me and if his narrative had been easy or self aware or jovial I feel it would have rung false.
Also, the complaints about the other characters--the fact that the characters are fiction, are based too much on real people, are unrealistic, etc. I found all the characters interesting and their motivations understandable and that's usually what I'm looking for! I'd say it is quite a happy ending for someone who has spent 40 years almost paralyzed shame and guilt, denying himself true companionship and any sense of purpose or happiness.
Aug 02, Heather rated it liked it. I liked this book alright. I love the subject of old Hollywood, in particular the silent days, and I loved the storylines on the racism against the Japanese something not written about very often, at least to my knowledge , but there was one big thing that bothered me about this book. The author does name check some of the more famous stars of that day, but the characters in the book are purely fiction. That being said, two of the major characters in the book, actress Nora Milton Niles and dire I liked this book alright. That being said, two of the major characters in the book, actress Nora Milton Niles and director Ashley Bennett Tyler, are supposed to be fiction, but everything about the characters, down to minute, specific details- same events happen in the same year to the "characters", similar sounding names, the involvement they have with one another, backgrounds, etc.
Perhaps the author could've just used the actors' real names, or, gasp! Then maybe it wouldn't have seemed so, well, silly. Dec 28, William Kelly rated it really liked it. As a massive movie fan, this novel is a loving testament to the era of silent films. It tells the story of Jun Nakayama, a young Japanese-American who became a huge star during the birth of Hollywood for about a decade and then disappeared until we find him again in his 70's who then receives a call from a journalist interested in the pictures of old; this ignites reliving memories Jun has been keeping locked away for over 40 years and sets off motions that are beautifully vivid and startling in As a massive movie fan, this novel is a loving testament to the era of silent films.
It tells the story of Jun Nakayama, a young Japanese-American who became a huge star during the birth of Hollywood for about a decade and then disappeared until we find him again in his 70's who then receives a call from a journalist interested in the pictures of old; this ignites reliving memories Jun has been keeping locked away for over 40 years and sets off motions that are beautifully vivid and startling in nature.
Nina Revoyr does a brilliant job illustrating how sorrowful and ignorantly bliss the main character lives life and connects to others around him in ways even he doesn't fathom right away. The story is sad, sweet, and gratefully ends with the same feeling of charm that the black and white moving pictures enticed in those who witnessed their majesty. Also the unsung hero of the work is Mrs.
Bradford, the wonderful companion of older Jun, she is simply marvelous. May 26, Joanne rated it liked it. This story is told by a Japanese man who was a silent movie star. Because of his feeling of what is appropriate and what isn't, to me the writing was very stilted.
However, I feel that is how it has to be. It also moved very slowly in parts. I did like the description of what Los Angeles was like during that time and how he saw it change, not only in appearance but also showing how society changed. I was disappointed in that the author took poetic license as to times certain things could take pl This story is told by a Japanese man who was a silent movie star. I was disappointed in that the author took poetic license as to times certain things could take place. I like historical novels that are true to the history. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories about early Hollywood.
Dreaming of Cinema
Oct 05, Sharon Younkin rated it really liked it Shelves: ca-book-clubs. This is a truly beautiful story with exquisite writing and a handful of killer sentences no pun intended. We read this for a book group and because it was chosen for the West Hollywood reads program, and I'm so happy we did, or we might not have happened upon it. The characters are well developed, there are multiple stories within stories as well as a captivating primary narrative bridging two distinct periods of time. The book is worth your time. Happy reading. Dec 06, George rated it liked it Shelves: lacpl-ebook , nook-st.
Compelling and likable characters, times, and setting—Hollywood in the early days of silent movies—make the novel, 'The Age of Dreaming,' by Nina Revoyr an engaging and delightful read. Told as a first-person narrative, it reads as part memoir, part mystery, and wholly entertaining.
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Recommendation: Do add this one to your want-to-read shelf. Jun 11, Vanessa Hua rated it really liked it. Engrossing, fascinating. Compelling character - a Japanese film star in the U. Mixes in history with fiction. Fast-paced, populates L. Oct 19, Lauren Stoolfire rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction , historical-fiction. If you find silent films and old Hollywood fascinating, Revoyr's well-written and incredibly engrossing novel, The Age of Dreaming, is a must read. Jun 19, Lilee rated it it was amazing Shelves: really-enjoyed , historical-fiction , wish-i-owned , awesome-ending.
This was my first time reading anything by this author, and I must say, if her other work is even half as good as this, I'd be happy. From start to finish, this book was a delight to read.
The pacing was perfect. The story unraveled slowly, but had just enough intrigue to keep you hooked. The characters were well developed and interesting. I felt completely transported to old Hollywood. I loved the name dropping of classic Hollywood actors. And I especially loved how the author so adequately discusses race and representation in Hollywood.
I also have to praise the ending. I actually found myself getting teary eyed at the end. I felt so deeply for the characters that I really found the ending bitter sweet and moving. I can't recommend this book enough. Jun 04, Joanne McPortland rated it really liked it.
I liked this book in spite of myself. Loved Revoyr's Southland, and had no problems with the purposely stilted first-person narrative. It was interesting to see a protagonist learn. But the numerous historical inaccuracies much more frequently occurring than the two main anachronisms she acknowledges kept throwing me out of the story. Sloppy is not something I would have applied to this writer, but this seems to have been poorly researched and fact-checked. Or maybe I just was more familiar wi I liked this book in spite of myself. Or maybe I just was more familiar with the s Hollywood that is the story's main setting.
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