Sunday, August 11, 2013

"A Moment in the Sun" entrenches us in much of American history at the turn of the 20th century

A Moment in the Sun

It took me time to read this book, close to 1000 pages. This epic takes 
the reader from the gold rush in the Yukon to America's incursions in 
Cuba and then the Phillipines, with lengthy stays in Wilmington, NC, 
New York  City, and other parts of the United States around the turn 
of  the 20th century. Sayles captures the lives of regular people, 
communicating in authentic voices and reflecting their times. I can 
only say that it is an incredible look  at history  through individuals 
and  families caught up in the times. 

I particularly was intrigued by the Lunceford family.  Driven from 
Wilmington by racists, Dr. Lunceford attempts to start life anew in 
New York peddling cures door-to-door, while his son Junior joins 
the Army, and pianist Jessie ends up working in a factory in 
dehumanizing conditions. Grimness, pain, and sorrow abound, but
 there is some joy as well. As I read the final chapters, I was sorry 
these tales of many were coming to an end. 

The final pages of the book shock and lead to much reflection about 
what was just read. For those interested in authentic historical 
fiction peopled by well-rounded characters (interspersed with true 
figures from history),  this book is highly recommended.