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This compelling 2002 documentary by Mark Moskowitz, an avid fiction reader who makes a living shooting political commercials, is a kind of literary detective story, though paradoxically the piece of literature at its center remains elusive and opaque to the end. In his late teens Moskowitz bought a copy of Dow Mossman's novel, The Stones of Summer (1972), after seeing an enthusiastic review in the New York Times Book Review; when he finally got around to reading it 25 years later he was blown away but frustrated to discover that Mossman had never been heard from again. This launched him on a lengthy quest to find the author and learn why some ambitious novelists produce only one book, a question pondered in interviews with critic Leslie Fiedler, editor Robert Gottlieb, author and teacher Frank Conroy, Mossman's former agent, and many others. We finally learn much more about Moskowitz than about Mossman, and more about Mossman than about his novel, but Moskowitz's passion for books is irresistible. 128 min. Facets Cinematheque.

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