Thomas Edison holds over 1,000 patents including the light bulb and the phonograph, but he is broke. To the rescue rides the “world’s banker,” J. P. Morgan, with his offer of almost unlimited cash if the two men will join forces to illuminate America and bring about a revolution in the way the world does business. Captivated by Morgan’s glittering vision Edison accepts, only to find the two men embroiled in the War of the Currents, which pits their direct current electrical system against the alternating current system promoted by George Westinghouse and the brainchild of Edison’s former assistant, Nikola Tesla. Ever more enmeshed in Morgan’s personal life, Edison becomes infatuated by a world of privilege and power, where duty and desire, faith and immorality are thrown into conflict, ultimately threatening his own spiritual and creative survival. As a result, Edison descends from being the godlike inventor of electric light to being complicit in the invention of the electric chair. Brilliance brings to life the birth of the modern era, providing an indelible portrait of the times in which we now live.
Anthony McCarten nominated for best writing (adapted screenplay) for “The Theory of Everything,” the life story about Stephen Hawking, which was also nominated for best picture.
Anthony McCarten is also the author of Brilliance (Hawthorne Books), a...Forward
“Theory of Everything: Getting Jane Hawking’s permission,” by Amy Kaufman for the Los Angeles Times
A decade ago, screenwriter Anthony McCarten showed up on Jane Hawking’s doorstep. He hadn’t given Hawking—ex-wife of the famous theoretical...Forward
Congratulations to Anthony McCarten, author of Brilliance (Hawthorne Books, 9/14) and the screenplay for the Stephen Hawking drama, “The Theory of Everything,” which premiered Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival, and is already earning strong...Forward
Thomas Alva Edison, the subject of Brilliance, presided over a workshop that produced hundreds of inventions patented in his name, perhaps most iconically the electric lightbulb. His life has become a sort of Rorschach test for novelists and...Forward
What keeps you awake at night?
Everything that can wait until tomorrow.
When were you happiest?
When I realized that a congenial monotony is the best anyone can hope for. I’m not sure how old I was or what I was doing — perhaps I was 13 and...Forward
Fast and Loose: sounds like a cricket term for a ball badly bowled. It derives, actually, from a medieval cheating game, where something seemingly stuck “fast” becomes, in an apparent act of magic, “loose.”
Fast and Loose: how often the...Forward
Hawthorne Books is excited to announce its partnership with ICM and Rocking Stone Media. I have before me the fabulous opportunity to work with agent Ron Bernstein and production designer turned producer, Mayne Berke, of Rocking Stone Media (also...Forward
Anthony McCarten’s sharp, dazzling novel about the inventors and millionaires who colluded to bring electric light to the world is more than a great, entertaining read — it’s also a sly, contemporary take on the complicated often corrupting effect of money, marketing, and hype on creativity.
- Karen Karbo
- Author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel
“The inventor poured himself a glass of milk and listened for the twentieth century.” So begins Anthony McCarten’s Brilliance, an alchemy of a novel that mixes history, aphorism, myth and heart to shed a mordantly funny light on the Faustian bargain Thomas Edison strikes with banker J.P. Morgan. This is a telling of history, yes, and of the larger than life personas who shaped the great and terrible socio-political landscape that was and remains America. But at its incandescent core lies a lovely contemplation of our impermanence, the mysterious current that the heart conducts from us to others. “The human force, magnetized into human shape, did not bear our names for long.” A striking and original work.
- David Rocklin
- Author of The Luminist
A great tale, well written and…dare I say it, illuminating.
- New Zealand Listener
Did inventor Thomas Edison and banker J.P. Morgan first meet in a bath in Saratoga Springs? Did Morgan possess, indeed cultivate ‘a postulated, bulbous magma of warty tissue with the texture of a cauliflower’ instead of a nose? Yes and yes if New Zealand novelist, playwright and film director Anthony McCarten’s affably ironic new novel is to be believed. His use of such eloquent details and imaginings add pleasing texture to the story – a parable on Wall Street’s tendency to co-opt and corrupt idealism – notably in the case of Edison, whose wives used Morse Code to counter his deafness; who existed on a mono-diet of milk; and who often appeared blind to the creative flair of others.”
- Book Oxygen
McCarten’s Lively prose style is a pleasure to read.
- The Times Literary Supplement
You can be sure that Brilliance will appear at a screen near you. In the meantime, read.
- E&T Magazine
McCarten’s stylish prose propels forward a narrative
of one of the most enthralling stories of modern
science. Readers who love the drama of history will find McCarten’s Brilliance utterly compelling.
- Monica Carter, Foreword Reviews
Brilliance is exactly what fans of historical fiction love to read.
- River City Reading
Entertaining and enjoyable.
- Historical Novel Society