Why did Jun Nakayama abandon his silent film career at the height of his popularity? In The Age of Dreaming, Nina Revoyr narrates the story of a handsome Japanese movie star who, in the early 1900's, took Hollywood by storm. In collaboration with the famous director Ashley Tyler, and the sophisticated actress, Elizabeth Banks, Nakayama made several intriguing films that brought him popular and critical aclaim. But after ten years of fame he abandoned his career and began a quiet life in obscurity. Revoyr starts her tale in the 1960's when Nakayama is "rediscovered" by Bellinger, a screenwriter who has studied his movies and thinks he would be perfect for a part in his new script. While researching Nakayama's films, he becomes captivated by the still unsoved murder of Ashley Tyler, and tries to link this mystery to the japanese actor. As Nakayama revisits his past to try to prevent the truth from being revealed, he begins to realize that his choices had consequences that affected the lives of many people, and that he still might have a chance at redemption.
Unspooling slowly, like a silent movie, The Age of Dreaming goes beyond the murder mystery, into the craft of film-making itself. After reading the novel, I researched collections of silent films, and promised that I would look beyond the comedies of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin to explore some of the dramatic films that are still available. Through Revoyr's characters, who are based on real people who lived in the Hollywood movie community, the silent film tradition is revived and celebrated.