A dark love story set in wartime Rome from the author of In Love and Your Face for the World to See
Rome, 1944. Robert is a lonely American soldier looking for a girl. Lisa is cold and hungry, obliged to seek work at Mamma Pulcini's house on the Via Flaminia. Their lives come together in what should be a simple exchange, a temporary arrangement without love or complication. But in a city broken by war, its people defeated, nothing is simple. Based on Alfred Hayes'own experiences of wartime Italy, this spare, searing novel exposes the dark complexities of the relationship between men and women, victor and vanquished.
'Hayes has done for bruised men what Jean Rhys does for bruised women, and they both write heartbreakingly beautiful sentences' Paul Bailey, Guardian
'Rings true as gold ... every single character in the book is sharp with the infallible stroke of art' Daily Mail
A brilliant, bruising depiction of the dark side of 1950s Hollywood, from the author of In Love.
At a Hollywood party, a screenwriter rescues an aspiring actress from a drunken suicide attempt. He is married, disillusioned; she is young, seemingly wise to the world and its slights. They slide into a casual relationship together, but as they become ever more entangled, he realises that his actions may have more serious consequences than he could ever have suspected. Hayes' exquisite novella, written in his cool, inimitable style, holds a revealing light to the hollowness of the Hollywood dream and exposes the untruths we tell ourselves, even when we think we have left illusions behind.
'A masterpiece ... an insider's manual for all those who would aspire to fame, the ghostly glamour of the movies' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian
'Hayes is the poet of the things we think about while lying in bed, when sleep refuses to carry us off' David Thomson
Hayes's masterpiece is an exquisite depiction of a doomed love affair set in noirish, 1950s New York.
In a Manhattan bar, a middle-aged man tells a pretty girl a story: of how he fell into a relationship with a lonely young divorcee; of how one night she was offered a thousand dollars to sleep with a stranger; and of how he and she would subsequently betray each other in turn. In Alfred Hayes's exquisite novella, love - in all its bewildering turns of longing, elation, heartbreak and regret - is dissected with unforgettable honesty and heartbreaking clarity.
Alfred Hayes (1911-1985) was born in London and grew up in New York, where he later worked as a newspaperman. After joining the army in 1943 he served with the US forces in Italy. While in Rome he met Roberto Rossellini and Federico Fellini on the film Paisà, and began his career in script-writing. He moved to Hollywood to work in the movies and was twice nominated for an Oscar for his scripts. Hayes' seven novels include The Girl on the Via Flaminia (1949), In Love (1953), My Face for the World to See (1958) and The End of Me (1968).