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In Love (New York Review Books Classics) von…
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In Love (New York Review Books Classics) (Original 1953; 2013. Auflage)

von Alfred Hayes, Frederic Raphael (Einführung)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
231593,253 (4.07)2
New York in the 1950s. A man on a barstool is telling a story about a woman he met in a bar, early married and soon divorced, her child farmed out to her parents, good-looking, if a little past her prime. They'd gone out, they'd grown close, but as far as he was concerned it didn't add up to much. He was a busy man. Then one day, out dancing, she runs into a rich awkward lovelorn businessman. He'll pay for her to be his, pay her a lot. And now the narrator discovers that he is as much in love with her as she is with him, perhaps more, though it will take him a while to realize just how utterly lost he is. Executed with the cool smoky brilliance of a classic Miles Davis track, In Love is an unequaled exploration of the tethered--and untethered--heart.… (mehr)
Mitglied:lsmills
Titel:In Love (New York Review Books Classics)
Autoren:Alfred Hayes
Weitere Autoren:Frederic Raphael (Einführung)
Info:NYRB Classics (2013), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 160 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:
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Werk-Informationen

In Love von Alfred Hayes (1953)

Kürzlich hinzugefügt voncattermune, NcyLai, newgrubstreet, BasilValentine, JameStewart
NachlassbibliothekenErnest Hemingway
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Het blijft vreemd dat dit korte verhaal zo lang (en nog altijd) onder de radar is gebleven. Ligt het aan de gecondenseerde vorm? Aan de lange, erg toneelmatig aandoende monoloog van een man van middelbare leeftijd over een vervlogen liefde? Of geraakt de gemiddelde lezer in de war door de subtiele en minder subtiele verschuivingen in het verhaal dat die man vertelt, waardoor er geleidelijk een ander licht komt op zowel de liefdesrelatie waarover hij het heeft, als de hoofdpersonages (hemzelf incluis)? Misschien, maar voor mij zijn dat net de sterke punten van deze korte roman.
Van in het begin voel je je in een ‘film noir’ uit de jaren ’40-’50 van de vorige eeuw, met een oudere man die een veel jongere vrouw aanspreekt aan de toog van een bar, inclusief de cocktails, en de opkringelende rookspiralen. Je kan je er zo Humphrey Bogart bij voorstellen. En dat beeld spoort dan onmiddellijk met die sonore stem die spreekt, van de man die de rest van het boek aan het woord blijft, zijn ontgoocheling in de liefde en het leven uitstortend in lange, verbitterde zinnen. Prachtig. En tegelijk ook briljant doordat Hayes erin geslaagd is dit verhaal uit te tillen boven een ordinair ‘blues’-verhaal. Want de vertellende protagonist blijkt niet zomaar een teleurgesteld man, integendeel, zijn monoloog verraadt hoe hij zelf als een onverbiddelijke hartenbreker in het leven stond, niet vies van manipulatie en zelfs geweld als het moest, zoals hij zelf zegt “het maximum” halend uit een relatie, en die vervolgens te dumpen. Met andere woorden is hier een heel ambigue macho-man aan het woord. En ook de andere, ogenschijnlijk passieve protagoniste, de eveneens ongenaamde vrouw waarmee hij een relatie had, blijkt gaandeweg toch met minstens evenveel ambiguïteit in het leven te staan. Hayes speelt hier op prachtige wijze met evoluerende karaktertekeningen, én met gender-stereotiepen die op dubbelhartige wijze doorbroken worden. Als je dit boekje dichtslaat, blijft een bittere nasmaak achter, van existentiële drama’s die reëel en tegelijk efemeer zijn, van desillusies en toch koppig voortdoen. Knap wat Alfred Hayes hier op goed 100 pagina’s gedaan heeft. ( )
  bookomaniac | Aug 16, 2021 |
Rachel Cusk rec
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
Predating the premise of Indecent Proposal by a number of decades, Alfred Hayes' short novel In Love tells the story of a middle-aged man and a young woman in love – or "in love" – and the underlying problems in their relationship which surface when a rich businessman offers the young woman money to spend a night with her.

Hayes eschews salaciousness in favour of a raw look into all the decimating effects of possessing, and being possessed by, someone else. The cool, almost nihilistic, approach to romance is something Hayes has also done arrestingly well in The Girl on the Via Flaminia and My Face for the World to See, and while I prefer those two books, it is in this book where Hayes really takes that despair and jealousy and anxiety and pulls it down into those psychological depths where it hardens and becomes something yet worse: that feeling where love turns to bitter hate.

Hayes is at his most nakedly observational here, whether it is in extended riffs on different facets of relationships in general (such as, on pages 50-51, how "a woman always seems to choose… the goddamnedest moments to end a love affair") or by delving into the particularly complex relationship of the two main characters. Despite the male protagonist also serving as narrator, his female partner-in-crime treats with the reader, if not on equal terms, then at least honestly. Hayes captures the ennui of post-modern Western man – "a man who privately thinks his life has come to some sort of an end" (pg. 3) – but the realisation of the female co-protagonist too not only prevents the book from becoming too self-pitying or misogynistic, but enhances the literary value. As Hayes' narration remarks after the two have torn each other apart at the end, it is "quite an overwhelming piece of character reading" (pg. 117), and the wounds are so open and vicious that you, as the disquieted reader, wish they weren't quite so recognisable to our own lives and histories. The self-destructive battle between the two is very vivid; it's like how a fight you witness between two people in the street always seems more dangerous than one you see on television.

In the books of his that I've read previously, one of Hayes' greatest qualities was his writing style. While that's also in evidence here, I was, to be honest, a bit more ambivalent this time around. There are a great number of compelling observations, delivered in crisp prose, but there are also many things that feel odd. The framework of the story can become convoluted: the male protagonist is telling the story to another woman in a bar, which means the female protagonist's story is told from the perspective of the male protagonist being told by the female protagonist what happened to her. The lack of speech marks doesn't help with this, and some unnecessarily laborious shuffles ("Isabel had been, because she was fond of her, and worried about her, frank…" (pg. 76)) come across as hesitant when the book should be definitive. For all Hayes' usually crisp writing, there are also some oddly constructed long sentences in In Love – enough for me to remark upon it. Try, for example, to maintain your train of thought with the following:

"But what was it, then, I wanted? she would ask, almost angrily, not really believing me (as, possibly, I did not believe myself), thinking that the obstinacy with which I spoke of some vague freedom, without shape, without substance, was only another of my infinite poses; and that it was all bound up (she could not say exactly how or why) with my reluctance to proclaim I loved her (desperately, of course) and could not live without her (when, after all, there were so many girls I had loved and managed to live without)." (pg. 23)

It is possible to gather yourself after a sentence like that, but Hayes' persistent use of such writing makes an already exhausting book – given the intensity and toxicity of the subject matter – more difficult than it perhaps ought to be. One could charitably say that such use of language simulates the tangled gnaw of this disruptive love affair, that we must unpick along with our characters, but the book doesn't need the technique. In Love is an excellent character study that, with one rich businessman's maxim, takes one of the most taboo truths about human interaction – "one should be born either beautiful or rich, everything else was a handicap" (pg. 32) – and sets two lovers to war over the proposition.

In the blackmail ultimatum of the finale, the resolution of the story ingeniously reinforces and yet inverts the businessman's maxim: in the end, we are all looking to take something, and it is not only the world which destroys us, but each other. It's just a shame that this dangerous, barbed tangle of love is sometimes expressed in long, tangled sentences. Hayes is much more devastating when he just delivers it cold and straight: "I suppose, she said, I'll never have a life of my own again simply because I was in love with you once" (pg. 107). ( )
1 abstimmen MikeFutcher | Feb 11, 2021 |
Phenomenal. What a sharp, little dagger into life and love. ( )
  kvschnitzer | Dec 8, 2019 |
This is a wrenching book -- which is a high compliment. It's an unsparing examination of a doomed love affair in post-WWII New York, from the perspective of a 40-year old man who is looking back on what he has lost, not with sentimentality, but with all the difficult emotions we have difficulty admitting to ourselves. Anger, bitterness, resentment, self-blame color his recollections.

The relationship he recalls is fraught with complications. He was seeing a beautiful woman who longed for commitment and stability -- stability both in terms of her status in the relationship, but also in terms of material possessions. Her lover eschews conventional commitments, questioning her priorities as he intellectualizes his own. A wealthy man enters the woman's life, and proposes to pay her $1,000 in return for a night with her. These flawed characters are all lost in some way, none able to fulfill the desires and needs of the other. Hayes represents their conflicts and raw emotions with prose that moves from sheer beauty to breathtaking anger. His is an economical style that took my breath away at times. I can't remember the last time that I read a novel that conveyed fury with such intensity.

Throughout the novel, Hayes' prose kept drawing me in. He explores the anguish we hide behind a placid mask:

"It was becoming painful to think. There seemed to be inside me whole areas I had to be careful of. I could feel my mind, like a paw, wince away from certain sharp recollections. I contained, evidently, a number of wounded ideas.
"So, with the only face I had, I continued to walk uptown, imitating a man who is out for some air or a little exercise before bed."

He finds words to convey some of the despair of being lost in nothingness:

"Are you all right? I asked.
"She was all right.
"Then what was it?
"It was nothing; it was just the ocean.
"Because it's sad?
"It wasn't sad, she said; no, that wasn't it. Sadness was the wrong word. It was just the ocean, and the darkness, the great darkness, how it went on and on. It was the being lost in it for a little while."

He portrays the savage inner-monologues that help us to maintain a frozen state of righteous anger when battling with someone we love and lose:

"So there would be the three of us, locked charmingly together, each in his necessary place. He would play the role of the solid husband, with whom she felt safe; she would be the wife, ornamental, lovely, who served the coffee to his friends; and I would occupy the special niche she was suggesting. It seemed to her so satisfactory a way out. I should really have no objections. It was so difficult for a woman to find everything she wanted neatly packaged into one man. I was quite sure that she even thought of it as one of her rights."

Throughout, Hayes explores a kind of existential angst that imbued post-war Western popular culture, a sense that we are all alone, that we cannot find meaningful connection with others.

Hayes first published In Love in 1953, and is now being reissued by NYRB Classics. I have had some of my most memorable reading experiences of the past few years when reading books from that series, and I am happy to include In Love among those books.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. ( )
2 abstimmen KrisR | Jul 9, 2013 |
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New York in the 1950s. A man on a barstool is telling a story about a woman he met in a bar, early married and soon divorced, her child farmed out to her parents, good-looking, if a little past her prime. They'd gone out, they'd grown close, but as far as he was concerned it didn't add up to much. He was a busy man. Then one day, out dancing, she runs into a rich awkward lovelorn businessman. He'll pay for her to be his, pay her a lot. And now the narrator discovers that he is as much in love with her as she is with him, perhaps more, though it will take him a while to realize just how utterly lost he is. Executed with the cool smoky brilliance of a classic Miles Davis track, In Love is an unequaled exploration of the tethered--and untethered--heart.

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Ausgaben: 1590176669, 1590176936

 

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