Documentary filmmaker Mark Moskowitz turns literary sleuth in this marvelous tale of a vanished novelist. Enchanted by the 1972 novel The Stones of Summer, Moskowitz was surprised to discover no subsequent trace of the author, Dow Mossman. This led him on a roundabout search for the man, including nicely freewheeling detours to talk about writing with critic Leslie Fiedler and editor Robert Gottlieb, among many distinguished others. Although Moskowitz's detective format is somewhat labored, the story of Mossman's retreat from writing is fascinating, and the joy of books (and talking about books) is always front and center. The suspense of Moskowitz's quest becomes real, and Stone Reader contains moments that would be implausible if they were in a fiction film--except, of course, they aren't made up. Bibliophiles of every stripe need to see this movie; and if you're not a book lover already, it may make you one.
Stone Reader is unlike any other documentary I've seen. It is funny, passionate, engaging, and challenging. Part home movie and part detective story, Stone Reader follows Mark Moskowitz on his search for the author of a favorite book. Along the way we have the opportunity to look inside the world of literature from the perspective of authors, publishers, agents, and book-lovers. I can't think of another film that explores the world of literature with such unflinching honesty. The interviews with industry pros are riveting. But this film is about more than books--it's about the way books mark our journey through life--the way they shape our thinking and force us to reevaluate ourselves. And for those who write, it's about the rigors and challenges of the creative process: the desire to achieve something great and lasting versus the grim realities of the commercial publishing business.
If you love books (even a little) you must see Stone Reader. You'll learn a lot--I promise. But Stone Reader is a really good _film_, so even if you're not a "big reader" you'll find this film thoroughly entertaining. It's a window into a world that we haven't seen before...definitely worth a look.
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