Amy Feitelberg
November 07, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

In last spring’s well-reviewed documentary ”Stone Reader,” Mark Moskowitz went in search of Mossman, who disappeared from the literary scene after ”Stones,” his one and only novel, was published to some acclaim in 1972. Though Moskowitz’s film is a stirring exploration of the impact of books on readers, its inspiration (now reissued by retailer-turned-publisher Barnes & Noble) is an acquired taste. The dense coming-of-age story follows Dawes Oldham Williams, a sensitive 8-year-old in 1950s Iowa who becomes a disillusioned adult in Mexico struggling to maintain his sanity. In 581 impenetrable pages, there’s no shortage of lyrical exposition or monotonous pretension. No wonder Moskowitz couldn’t get through ”Stones” till a quarter century after he bought a copy.

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