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John Sayles

Author of A Moment in the Sun

50+ Works 2,078 Members 32 Reviews

About the Author

John Thomas Sayles is a novelist, screenwriter, director, and actor. He was born in Schenectady, New York, on September 28, 1950. He earned a B.S. in psychology from Williams College in 1972. After graduating, Sayles earned a living as an orderly, a laborer, and a meat packer. Two novels and a show more collection of short stories were published in the 1970s. Sayles also wrote screenplays for B-movie king Roger Corman, contributing to such films as Piranha and Battle Beyond the Stars. In 1980 he wrote, directed, and acted in the film Return of the Secaucus Seven, which won the Best Screenplay award from the Los Angeles Film Critics and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1983, Sayles received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," which provided him with $30,000 per year for five years. His work during this period included the films Baby it's You, Brother From Another Planet, and Matewan. Sayles also directed the Bruce Springsteen music videos, "Born in the U.S.A.," "I'm on Fire," and "Glory Days." He also created a television series in 1989 called Shannon's Deal. Sayles has received an O. Henry Award, a best director award from the Seattle Film Festival, a Taskforce Award, and Academy Award nominations for the screenplays for Passion Fish and Lone Star. He also wrote the screenplay for, directed, and performed in the critically acclaimed film, Eight Men Out. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara

Works by John Sayles

A Moment in the Sun (2011) 368 copies
The Spiderwick Chronicles [2008 film] (2008) — Screenwriter — 314 copies
Los Gusanos (1991) 147 copies
Union Dues (1977) 142 copies
The Anarchists' Convention (1979) 120 copies
The Secret of Roan Inish [1994 film] (1995) — Director/Screenwriter — 106 copies
The Howling [1981 film] (1981) — Writer — 86 copies
Yellow Earth (2020) 67 copies
Eight Men Out [1988 Film] (1988) — Director/Screenwriter/Actor — 67 copies
Pride of the Bimbos (1975) 67 copies
Lone Star [1996 film] (1996) — Director/Screenwriter — 50 copies
Matewan [1987 film] (1987) — Director — 42 copies
The Clan of the Cave Bear [1986 film] (1999) — Screenwriter — 42 copies
Sunshine State [2002 film] (2002) — Director — 16 copies
Men with Guns [1997 film] (1998) 15 copies
Lianna [1983 film] (2003) 14 copies
Silver City [2004 film] (2004) 13 copies
Passion Fish [1992 film] (1992) 13 copies
Limbo [1999 film] (1999) — Director — 12 copies
Casa de los Babys [2003 film] (2004) — Director — 11 copies
Piranha (1978) 11 copies
Honeydripper [2007 film] (2007) — Director & Screenwriter — 10 copies
City of Hope [1991 film] (1992) 5 copies
Men of War [1994 Film] (1994) — Screenwriter — 4 copies
Baby It's You [1983 film] (1983) 4 copies
American Film (May, 1986, Volume 11, #7) (1986) — Editor — 1 copy

Associated Works

The Best American Mystery Stories 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 189 copies
McSweeney's Issue 37 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern) (2011) — Contributor — 99 copies
Piranha [1978 film] (1978) — Writer — 37 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1980 (1980) — Contributor — 34 copies
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1994 (1994) — Contributor — 19 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1977 (1977) — Contributor — 16 copies
Alligator [1980 film] (1980) — Screenplay — 14 copies
Breaking In [1989 film] (2002) — Writer — 3 copies
TriQuarterly 48: Western Stories — Contributor — 2 copies


1980s (19) 20th century (10) adventure (7) American (12) American fiction (15) American literature (30) anthology (30) baseball (10) Blu-ray (8) cinema (7) Cuba (13) drama (35) DVD (127) fantasy (34) fiction (232) film (57) first edition (20) historical fiction (23) history (14) horror (25) Ireland (8) John Sayles (17) literature (11) McSweeney's (21) movie (35) movies (20) mystery (41) non-fiction (14) novel (34) read (7) science fiction (7) selkies (7) short stories (84) signed (16) stories (9) to-read (100) unread (13) USA (17) werewolves (8) West Virginia (7)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Sayles, John
Legal name
Sayles, John Thomas
Country (for map)
Schenectady, New York, USA
Williams College
film director



BooksInMirror | 2 other reviews | Feb 19, 2024 |
Scottish rebels transported to America, Jamie becomes Indian, Jenny ends as a nunI spent about two weeks intermittently reading this novel. It begins at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 with the title character, a young, educated Scotsman of the minor nobility, hurrying to join the Scottish forces fighting for Charles Stuart. The Scots are defeated before he arrives, and Jamie is captured, condemned as a rebel Jacobite, held in capitivity and nearly hung before being transported to the American colonies as an indentured slave. At the time he was fleeing in Scotland, he chances to meet Jennie, a crofters daughter. In return for her help, he gives her a ring, but she is soon rounded up with many Scottish rebels in the terrors that followed the battle. She is separately indentured, but the ship carrying her to the colonies is taken by French pirates, and she is taken to Martinique. Jamie's and Jennie's stories alternate throughout the book. Jamie escapes brutal slavery, is captured but then adopted by Lenape indians, participates as a translator in the war between the French and English for control of North America, ending captured again at the battle of Quebec. Jennie becomes the paramour of a French artillery officer who is transferred from Martinique to Acadia, where he is killed as a fort is bombarded. Jennie is then a refugee, eventually an Indian captive, is traded to a priest who keeps her as a housemaid. She ends up in Quebec caring for wounded soldiers, and the nuns put her in a habit to protect her from the English. She meets Jamie when captive of the indians, and they recognize each other, but there is no further connection between them, Jamie escapes capture by the English, aided by his brother, who had joined the Highland regiment, and tells his soldiers in Erse to "aim high, he's one of us" as Jamie plunges into the St Lawrence, and is picked up by his indian lover. The author is omniscent, stating the thoughts of the characters. George Washington, Henry Fielding, William Hogarth, General James Wolfe and other historical characters have moments of thoughts and perspectives on the events. The details of indian life, soldiering, locales and life in the colonial times are plentiful (possibly too plentiful). The plot is driven more than once by coincidence and the need to cover all the places and events. The author is a film maker, and the structure of the book is that of a grand technicolor epic movie.… (more)
neurodrew | 1 other review | Jan 17, 2024 |
Long epic journey from Scotland to the United States and the French and Indian War as seen through the eyes of young Jamie MacGillivray, whose family lost their lands to the English, and Jenny, a poor young woman who is caught up in the Scottish troubles and is sent in chains to the United States.

The biggest thing keeping me from loving this seemingly accurate historical portrayal is the overuse of too many foreign phrases - especially French. The author tried to give the reader a clue about what was being said, but that really disrupted the flow of reading when I had to stop and try to translate (often used Google translate). When not a foreign language, the author used so much Scottish dialect I was also stumped at times as to what was being said.

However, the historical part of the book is great - although very gruesome at times. The Scottish attempt in 1746 to place a "pretender" king on the throne was interesting, but extremely violent. Likewise, as Jamie makes his way to America (after a horrifying sea journey) as an indentured servant, the historical part of what was happening in the US was interesting. Eventually Jamie wins himself living with an Indian tribe during the struggles between France and England-the Indians loyalty changing constantly depending on promises of both countries.

Interesting - probably a bit too long (600+ pages) and would have been much better with less French!
… (more)
maryreinert | 1 other review | Apr 11, 2023 |
freixas | Mar 31, 2023 |



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½ 3.7

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