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The Stones of Summerby Dow Mossman
Originally published in 1972, The Stones of Summer, despite favorable reviews and a cult following, went out of print for nearly 20 years. Following Mark Moskowitz's 2003 documentary film Stone Reader (about Mossman and The Stones of Summer), the book's popularity has undergone a much-deserved resurgence. Dow Mossman, an Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate, suffered a mental breakdown while completing the book, and slipped into relative obscurity following its publication (the only title Mossman was to publish).
A coming-of-age tale spanning nineteen years in the life of Dawes Williams, Stones' remarkable breadth and "hallucinatory prose" portray the optimism and angst of a generation now past. Divided into three stylistically unique parts, the epic novel follows Dawes's mischievous childhood on an Iowa farm, through his tumultuous teenage years, and finally into the frustrated literary ambitions of his troubled adulthood. Touching yet tragic, The Stones of Summer is a quintessential work of American literature. "...Atttssss Dawes!"
Synopses & Reviews
Originally published to glowing reviews in 1972, Dow Mossman's extraordinary debut is a sweeping coming-of-age tale that developed a passionate cult following — even as it went out of print for more than twenty years. It recently inspired the award-winning documentary film Stone Reader, which was embraced by readers across the country and described by Peter Rainer of New York magazine as "a marvelous literary thriller that gets at the way books can stay with people forever."
Part mystic, part poet, the young, precocious Dawes Williams is learning to curse and shoot firecrackers while trying to understand the larger mysteries of life, his family, and literature. As a teenager, he's stifled by ennui in his hometown of Rapid Cedar, Iowa. Drinking with his buddies, shooting pool, cruising for sex, Dawes tries to be one of the guys, but is set apart by his sensitivity, odd cultural references, and artistic sensiblity. Labled the town eccentric, he becomes increasingly unsettled and, as the turbulence of the 1960s begins to erupt, finds himself fighting for his sanity. Rendered with breathtaking artistry and emotional depth, The Stones of Summer captures the beauty and pain of postwar America, revealing in layer upon layer of richly observed detail the maturation — the very soul of an artist.
Remarkable in its ambition and imaginative energy, The Stones of Summer is an epic novel as capacious and particular, as brooding and ebullient, as mystifying and beautiful, as America itself.
"After its 1972 publication, this sprawling, modernist Great American Novel-style epic garnered its author critical comparison to Faulkner, for its saga of rural dynastic decline; Salinger, for its mood of youthful alienation; and Joyce, for its labyrinthine, cryptically allusive, stream-of-consciousness renditions of the private psyche." Publishers Weekly
"The Stones of Summer cannot possibly be called a promising first novel for the simple reason that it is such a marvelous achievement that it puts forth much more than mere promise." The New York Times Book Review
"Mossman's novel is a fever dream, a poetic American adventure every bit as comic and tragic, sprawling and intimate as the country itself." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Originally published to glowing reviews in 1972, Dow Mossman's extraordinary debut is a sweeping coming-of-age tale that developed a passionate cult following. It recently inspired the award-winning documentary film Stone Reader, described by Peter Rainer of New York magazine as ?a marvelous literary thriller that gets at the way books can stay with people forever.?
Rendered with breathtaking artistry and emotional depth, The Stones of Summer captures the beauty and pain of postwar America. Its vivid evocation of culture-void Iowa in the ?50s and ?60s reveals in layer after layer of richly observed detail the maturation?the very soul?of an artist. Its rediscovery was the catalyst for one filmmaker to confront his faith in the power of great literature to endure, and it can now be embraced by readers everywhere.
About the Author
Dow Mossman received his B.A. from Coe College, in his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop. He is the recipient of numerous awards, inclusing a Book-of-the-Month Club Fellowship.
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