The American Sun & Wind Moving Picture Company
Publication Year: 2003
The American Sun & Wind Moving Picture Company is an enchanting tale set in the silent film era. Beginning in 1915, in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where a Jewish family makes one and two reel silent films, the novel is composed of six chapters, each a discrete silent film in itself.
Joey, the too-beautiful-to-be-a-boy son of moviemaker, Simon, and his actress wife, Hannah, imagines stories that his uncle’s camera turns into scenes for their movies. Witness to and participant in the rapid technological advances in film, from the movies his family makes, to the advent of the talkies, Joey is cast in both male and female roles, onstage and off. When the woman Joey loves murders her abusive husband and sends Joey from his New Jersey family disguised as the mother of her own children, he embarks on a cross-country journey of adventure and hardship, crossing paths with the likes of D. W. Griffith, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, and “Roxy” Rothafel. Finally, reunited on the opposite coast with his uncle, and with the woman he has never stopped loving, Joey’s wild journey—and life!—arrive at a moment as unpredictable as it is magical.
In an outrageously original tale worthy of a studio whose moguls might have been Kafka, Garcia Marquez, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, reality and illusion merge and separate, leaving the audience spellbound even after the final curtain falls.
Published by: Texas Tech University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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In the forest, high above the lake, I imagined that I was, far below, trapped beneath the black ice. I gathered sticks for kindling, pressed them close to my chest, then brought the bundle, like a gift, to the edge of the woods. I looked down at the lake and saw that Mister Lesko and his horse were camera from its blanket—lifting it tenderly, as if it were an infant—then sett ing it upon the tripod: a sign that we would glass, a shoe, a tree, a mirror, a butt on, a window, a wall—and that I told no one about—one I stored inside me, in the rooms ...
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We sat in the projection room, watching French, Ameri-can, and German soldiers die, while on screen Mister Griﬃ th, in a pith helmet, walked among them. Miss Gish and Billy Bitz er, Mister Griﬃ th’s cameraman, sat behind me with my mother and father.hair was braided and tied in a brown taﬀ eta schoolgirl’s bow, arouse. Miss Gish told my mother that Mister Griﬃ th insisted it be writt en into her contract, as well as the contract of her face, he talked of rolling barrages, soul-sickening smells, and ...
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My father entered the room, not from the door I would use when we fi lmed the scene a second time—a scene in which Mister Gardner and Laura would kiss for the fi rst time—but from the open side of the platform. His face bright with curiosity, he approached a large sheet of glass that was fi xed in an upright position beside the divan woman’s outline from a strip of fi lm onto a large sheet of pa-glass, after which, using a glazier’s knife, he had carved the fi ngertips. Well, he remarked, it’s certainly easy to see through ...
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...what it might be like to live a life in which the expectation of tea kett le, and the fl apping of the shade, where, despite all I’d done to seal oﬀ the window, the winds coming oﬀ Lake Mich-the hairbrush, clutched it to her chest. It’s just that you look so wards along the fl oor, her forearm across her eyes. I’ll do any-...
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While I sliced peaches into thin crescents, Regina dust-ed the kitchen table with fl our, rolled out a second pie crust, and complained about Marvin: Where was he, and why was he always running away, and what if he didn’t return home before it was time to leave? We alone, and I said that yes, I’d promised all those things. Today pies we’d baked, the sandwiches we’d made, the picnic basket and sliced apricots I’d been soaking in sugar water, squeezed narrow strips of dough on top of the pie, after which I brushed ...
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Karl was waiting for me on the patio, studying the week’s Torah portion as he did each Saturday morning before we left for synagogue, but before I could join him, Edu-ardo, who was in charge of the house servants, detained me with a gloved hand and told me that Mrs. Dav-idoﬀ —Karl’s wife—wished to see me privately in her quar-ing in the air currents like a pale sea anemone. I imagined Ben forever, the shutt er created brief periods of light that alter-alternate with brief periods of darkness. I saw myself drifting ...
About the Author
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Jay Neugeboren is the author of nineteen books, includ-ing two prize-winning novels (The Stolen Jew, Before My Life Began), two award-winning books of nonfi ction (Imagining Robert, Transforming Madness), and four collec-tions of award-winning stories. His stories and essays Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Scholar, Ploughshares, six consecutive Syndicated Fiction Prizes, and his novel, 1940, ...
Also by Jay Neugeboren
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Open Heart: A Patient’s Story of Life-Saving Medicine and Life-...
Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2003
Series Title: Modern Jewish Literature and Culture