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My Face For the World to See (eBook)
Alfred Hayes is one of the secret masters of the twentieth century novel, a journalist and scriptwriter and poet who possessed an immaculate ear and who wrote with razorsharp intelligence about passion and its payback.
My Face for the World to See is set in Hollywood, where the tonic for anonymity is fame and you’re only as real as your image. At a party, the narrator, a screenwriter, rescues a young woman who staggers with drunken determination into the Pacific. He is living far from his wife in New York and long ago shed any illusions about the value of his work. He just wants to be left alone. And yet without really meaning to, he gets involved with the young woman, who has, it seems, no illusions about love, especially with married men. She’s a survivor, even if her beauty is a little battered from years of not quite making it in the pictures. She’s just like him, he thinks, and as their casual relationship takes on an increasingly troubled and destructive intensity, it seems that might just be true, only not in the way he supposes.
About the Author
Alfred Hayes (1911–1985) was born into a Jewish family in Whitechapel, London, though his father, a barber, trained violinist, and sometime bookie, moved the family to New York when Hayes was three. After attending City College, Hayes worked as a reporter for the New York American and Daily Mirror and began to publish poetry, including “Joe Hill,” about the legendary labor organizer, which was later set to music by the composer Earl Robinson and recorded by Joan Baez. During World War II Hayes was assigned to a special services unit in Italy; after the war he stayed on in Rome, where he contributed to the story development and scripts of several classic Italian neorealist films, including Roberto Rossellini’s Paisà (1946) and Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948), and gathered material for two popular novels, All Thy Conquests (1946) and The Girl on the Via Flaminia (1949), the latter the basis for the 1953 film Act of Love, starring Kirk Douglas. In the late 1940s Hayes went to work in Hollywood, writing screenplays for Clash by Night, A Hatful of Rain, The Left Hand of God, Joy in the Morning, and Fritz Lang’s Human Desire, as well as scripts for television. Hayes was the author of seven novels, a collection of stories, and three volumes of poetry. In addition to My Face for the World to See, NYRB Classics publishes In Love.
Praise for My Face For the World to See…
"Hayes is a master of the withheld detail...This is an insider's manual for all those who would aspire to fame, the ghostly glamour of the movies, and believe they are entitled to