Great filmmaker, momentous novel
In films from “Brother from Another Planet” (1984) to “Eight Men Out” (1988) to “Lone Star” (1996), John Sayles has proven himself to be a powerful filmmaker — a great indie writer-director auteur who manages to reveal compelling stories about all-too-human characters.
But as sweeping as Sayles’ films can be, there is a big difference between writing a script for a two-hour film and writing a novel that spans nearly 1,000 pages.
Let alone a novel such as “A Moment in the Sun” (McSweeney’s Books, 2011) that involves dozens of characters, takes place in half-a-dozen countries and that tracks the “turn-of-the-20th-century” emergence of an American empire in the five years between U.S. interventions in Cuba and in the Philippines.
John Irving, an award-winning novelist who occasionally takes a break from novel writing to write award-winning screenplays, often says he views the collaborative nature of screenwriting as a welcome vacation from the solitude of novel writing.