Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681374338
Pages: 192
Publication Date: June 9, 2020

The End of Me

by Alfred Hayes, introduction by Paul Bailey

$15.95

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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 the 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 Asher 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 Hayes’s In Love and My 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.

Praise

His novels perfectly capture the texture of midcentury American life. There’s nothing obsolete in Hayes’s writing. His work must come back to us in all its brutal honesty.
—Alex Harvey, Los Angeles Review of Books

[Alfred Hayes] gives you an amazingly precise representation of what the world looks like if there’s no love in it.
—Rachel Cusk

Along with the other parts of this loose trilogy, this elegant, oddly-gripping novel establishes Hayes as the even more disenchanted heir of F. Scott Fitzgerald. . . . ‘The End Of Me’ is stingingly good.
—John Powers, NPR’s Fresh Air

This author’s is a truly formidable and terrifying talent. He has a merciless insight into human behaviour and he writes with extreme compression and great directness.
—Walter Allen, New Statesman

What sets him apart . . . is 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