‘The End of Me’ by Alfred Hayes – His Sixties Novel

 

‘The End of Me’ by Alfred Hayes    (1968) – 178 pages

 

‘The End of Me’ is very much Alfred Hayes’ Sixties novel. In other words, it is partially about fooling around with sex. The Sixties were famous for fooling around with sex.

Alfred Hayes was a Hollywood screenwriter, and it much shows in his writing. He writes in short declarative sentences which is what I imagine screenwriters do. It is not stylish, it is a steady plain style like giving stage directions which does have its advantages but also its limitations. Alfred Hayes is the only successful Hollywood screenwriter I know of who also became a successful literary novelist as well.

‘The End of Me’ is the third novel of what they call a “loose trilogy” as the other two novels have different characters but all have a screenwriter as the central character. The other two novels in the trilogy are ‘In Love’ and ‘ My Face for the World to See’ which I have also read and reviewed.

At the beginning of this novel a husband in his fifties, a Hollywood screenwriter named Asher, accidentally catches his wife having sex with her tennis instructor.

On the floor through the window with the unheard music he reached under the soft sweater and unhooked her brassiere. I had not howled. I had run. I was finished.”

Not only Asher’s marriage but also his career as a screenwriter have crashed as he has not gotten any scripts to write lately.

Asher immediately leaves, takes a flight to New York City which was his childhood home and where he lived for thirty-five years.

In New York City, the screenwriter meets up with a young nephew Michael and his girlfriend Aurora d’Amore (which does sound like a stripper’s name). Michael takes Asher around to places from the past that have meaning to the screenwriter. Meanwhile Michael and Aurora try to get money out of Asher.

Later Michael and Aurora have a fight, and Aurora winds up in bed with Asher. Thus we have the partial redemption of a man in his fifties when he sleeps with the young woman Aurora d’Amore. Sure, sure.

The writing in ‘The End of Me’ is of the same good quality as the other two novels in the trilogy, but this is a very Sixties plot, quite outdated.

 

Grade:    B

 

 

4 responses to this post.

  1. No, I’m not rushing out to find this one for the TBR…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Will pass on this one. Thanks for letting us know! The NYRB brand surprises me with its eclecticism.

    Like

    Reply

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