Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681374338
Pages: 178
Publication Date: April 21, 2020

The End of Me

by Alfred Hayes


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Asher's career as a Hollywood screenwriter has come to a humiliating end; so has his latest marriage. Returning to New York, where he grew up, he takes a room at a hotel and wonders what, well into middle age as he is, he should do next. It's not a question of money; it's a question of purpose, maybe of pride. In the company of an arch young poet, Michael, Asher revisits the streets and tenements of the Lower East Side where he spent his childhood, though little remains of the past. Michael introduces him to Aurora, perhaps his girlfriend, who, to Asher's surprise, seems bent on pursuing him, too. Soon the older man and his edgy young companions are caught up in a slow, strange, almost ritualized dance of deceit and desire.

The End of Me, a successor to In Love and Her Face for the World to See, can be seen as the final panel of a triptych in which Alfred Hayes anatomizes, with a cool precision and laconic lyricism that are all his own, the failure of modern love. The last scene is the starkest of all.


What sets him his feeling for words and his sense of how to make them count.
—Malcolm Cowley, The New York Times

In his own manner Alfred Hayes makes his every note ring clear and true.
Saturday Review

Alfred Hayes writes with grace and facility...A master of contemporary fiction.
New York Herald Tribune Book Review

One very quiet touch from Mr. Hayes can convey more pain than any quantity of huffing and puffing from more insistent but less accomplished writers.
Times Literary Supplement