Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"In Love" by Alfred Hayes (Introduction by Frederic Raphael) NYRB

ISBN: 978-1-59017-666-5 NYRB
"In Love" by Alfred Hayes (Introduction by Frederic Raphael) NYRB

By the title "In Love," one would think this is a hallmark card sentiment.  Very far from that, in fact, author Alfred Hayes cuts into the idea of a relationship if he was a surgeon in the middle of an open heart surgery.   The book is almost a stream of consciousness, with respect to the writing style of Hayes, who tends to expose the most "inner" thoughts on the narrative of a relationship being torn apart by another man who wants to pay $1,000 to sleep with "his" woman.   No one here is a bad guy or girl, but more of a study in what people want in a relationship.  

The book is set in Post-war Manhattan, and one can get a scent of the "Mad Men" era through its pages.   It also reminds me of that series, due to the psychological profiles of the major characters in that series.   This anti-valentines day novella is very sharp, and very much like Hayes novel "My Face for the World to See."   What is similar is Hayes talent to uncover the characters and show them as what they are.   He has incredible insight, and ways he reminds me of Patricia Highsmith, in his ability to strip away the excess and show the meat in the narrative. 

Alfred Hayes is one of those writers who somehow fell into the cracks of literary history.  He worked in Hollywood as a film writer as well as working for Television.  But the other interesting aspect of him, is his work on Italian neo-realist films such as "Bicycle Thieves."  And he had a hand in writing the script to the great Fritz Lang film "Clash by Night.   

We're lucky that there are presses like New York Review of Books (NYRB) that re-issues these "lost" classics.   Read and learn about the human heart and how it works with the "head." 

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