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The Boston Globe


Book review

‘The American Sun and Wind Moving Picture Company’ by Jay Neugeboren

The tour-de-force opening sequence of “The American Sun and Wind Moving Picture Company’’ presents a New Jersey family in the winter of 1915 making a silent film with hand-cranked cameras on the edge of a frozen lake. Ben is the cameraman, his brother, Karl, the producer/director, their sister, Hannah, the female lead. Hannah’s husband, Simon, plays music (never to be heard by audiences) to evoke feelings in the actors as the scenes are filmed.

Their son, the androgynous, vatic Joey, plays supporting roles of either gender, narrates the novel we’re reading, and invents plotlines for the movies: “I could make a story out of anything back then — a nail, a glass, a shoe, a tree, a mirror, a button, a window, a wall — and for every story I made up and gave away, I also made up one that I told no one about — one I stored inside me, in the rooms where I kept my most precious memories and pictures.”

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