“The Age of Dreaming is a masterpiece of the sort that doesn’t just seduce the reader—it leaves you transformed. Nina Revoyr deserves to be counted among the top ranks of novelists at work today.”—Jerry Stahl, author of I, Fatty
“This is a riveting, wise, and gorgeous novel.”—Mary Yukari Waters
“Brilliant and original. . . . The carefully restrained voice of its narrator recalls Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.”—Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize winner
Jun Nakayama was a silent film star in the early days of Hollywood, but by 1964, he is living in complete obscurity—until a young writer, Nick Bellinger, reveals that he has written a screenplay with Nakayama in mind. Jun is intrigued by the possibility of returning to movies, but he begins to worry that someone might delve too deeply into the past and uncover the events that led to the abrupt end of his career in 1922. These events include the changing racial tides in California and the unsolved murder of his favorite director, Ashley Bennett Tyler.
The Age of Dreaming is part historical novel, part mystery, and part unrequited love story.
Nina Revoyr was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a Polish-American father, and grew up in Japan, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles. She is the author of two previous novels, The Necessary Hunger and Southland, which was a Book Sense 76 pick, winner of the Ferro-Grumley and Lambda Literary awards, a finalist for an Edgar Award, and one of the Los Angeles Times’ “Best Books of 2003.” She lives and works in Los Angeles.
In her cunning follow-up to Southland, Revoyr returns to L.A., this time to when Sunset Boulevard was "just a dirt road" and Jun Nakayama was a famous silent film star. Prompted by a journalist's visit in 1964, 42 years after he left the screen for good, Jun revisits his youth in Japan, his discovery at L.A.'s Little Tokyo Theater, his rise to stardom and the scandalous events that led to his abrupt retreat from public life. Mixing real people with fictional characters like principled Japanese actress Hanako Minatoya, troubled starlet Elizabeth Banks (not the one in Seabiscuit), ing nue Nora Minton Niles and dashing director Ashley Bennett Tyler, Revoyr creates a vibrant portrait of a time when the film studio was "a place of serious work." As Jun reveals the secrets he has kept for decades, he uncovers new twists in his own history and comes to terms with other painful experiences he has repressed, namely his loneliness and the effects of the anti-Japanese racism he mistakenly believed he could overcome by being "as agreeable and American as possible." The occasional awkward transition between present and past notwithstanding, Revoyr beautifully invokes Jun's self-deceptions and his growing self-awareness. It's an enormously satisfying novel.