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"Stone Reader" chronicles filmmaker's odyssey
in search of a missing author.
Special to the Jewish News
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"This time when I sat down to read
it, I was amazed at its absolute genius.
-It had taken me almost 25 years, but I
finally understood the significance of
Dow Mossman's work, and I immedi-
ately set out to find everything else
Mossman had written."
To his surprise, Moskowitz discov-
ered there were no other works. "I
couldn't believe such a magnificent
lished his first — and only —
novel, The Stones of Summer.
A lyrical work, wondrously
conceived, the book tells the story of
Dawes Williams' coming of age in
Rapid City, Iowa, during the 1950s.
Over the course of some 600
pages, the novel follows Dawes
into the turbulent '60s, where
he struggles to adapt to an
The Stones of Summer met
with strong early reviews and
had enough hardcover sales to
warrant a paperback printing.
Yet, as is often the case with
literary fiction, the novel soon
disappeared from the
So, too, did Dow Mossman.
At 29, three years removed
from earning his M.F.A. at the
Filmmaker Mark Moskowitz
Iowa Writer's Workshop, he
vanished, and for the next 30
writer had never published again, and I
years no one in the publishing world
became determined to find out what
heard a word from him.
At the time The Stones of Summer was happened to him," he said.
Already a successful filmmaker with
first released, Mark Moskowitz was 18
an impressive resume of corporate and
years old and living in suburban
political clients — his company Point of
Philadelphia, in the Conservative
View Productions produces retail com-
Jewish home where he grew up.
mercials as well as political reels for The
"I remember buying the novel after
coming across a review in the New York Campaign Group — Moskowitz found
himself drawn to the idea of turning his
Times," Moskowitz said in a recent
search for Mossman into part of a film.
interview. "The review described The
"I'd been thinking of doing a movie
Stones of Summer
about books for some time," he said.
of our generation, but I had trouble
"Something that would deal with the
getting into it."
material differently than the often dry
Somehow, however, the original copy
approach seen on television.
of the book remained in Moskowitz's
"The movie began as a lark. I
"In 1998, I was going through an old thought the part about Dow would be
maybe 15 minutes, that I'd find out he
stack of books and decided to give The
was teaching at Cornell or had written
Stones of Summer another try," he
the screenplay for Fast and Furious 2 —
or maybe that he'd committed suicide."
Steven Gillis is the author of the novel
But as Moskowitz's search contin-
"Walter Falls." His second novel, "The
ued, the process became more of a
Weight of Nothing," will be published
in September 2004.
POWER OF LITERATURE on page 74