It was a magnificent, beautifully kept place, but is now crumbling and overgrown, and I was interested in when and why things changed there. It seemed to me that such a change in attitudes to death and mourning reflected a broader change in society. I spent several years doing volunteer work at the cemetery — helping with a gardening group and giving tours. Any readers who have been on a tour of the cemetery may have had me as their guide and not realized it!
I also read a lot of books about Victorian mourning and rituals and the planning and maintenance of cemeteries, as well as histories of the suffragette movement, and of Victorian and Edwardian house styles. Did you know how Falling Angels was going to end before you wrote the story, or did the ending become clear as you were writing?
I knew something of an ending — e.
William Hjortsberg, Screenwriter of 'Legend' and 'Angel Heart,' Dies at 76
It was only as I was writing that it became clear what would happen to Ivy May. Actually, I knew from the start some of what happens beyond the ending — originally the book was meant to go through I may have to write a sequel to get it out of my system! Maude, I think. In most books, I tend to identify with the character who learns the most, and I think she does. Of the minor characters I have a soft spot for the cook, Dorothy Baker.
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Add to Cart. What type of research was necessary to tell this story? Of Maude, Lavinia, Kitty, and Gertrude, with whom do you identify most? What are you working on now?
- Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg, First Edition.
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Which characters do you relate to the most? How does having so many characters affect how you perceive the story? The turn of the century found England in a state of transition. How did the death of Queen Victoria signify a new era, a more modern climate? How do the conflicting opinions on death and mourning define the characters? He created a near-riot at the Paramount Theatre two years before anyone ever heard of Sinatra.
In , I was just out of high school, a rookie cop in Madison, Wisconsin. Very true. It smelled like excellent tobacco, and I regretted not taking one when I had the chance. This is a city of outsiders, he said. Cyphre waved away a wreath of cigar smoke, flashing an emerald the Pope himself would have kissed.follow link
William Hjortsberg Dead: Screenwriter of 'Legend' and 'Angel Heart' Was 76 | Hollywood Reporter
A pleasant voice, all things considered. Cyphre raised his glass to eye level in a silent European toast. As I said, I could never stomach swing music; too loud and jumpy for my taste. But Johnny sounded sweet as a caroler when he wanted to. I took him under my wing when he was first getting started. He was a brash, skinny kid from the Bronx. Mother and father both dead. Do you know what happened to him? Because of his professional talents, he was assigned to the Special Entertainment Services Branch and in March he joined a troop show in Tunisia.
The Luftwaffe strafed the bandstand.
Falling Angel: A Novel
Most of the troupe was killed. Johnny, through some quirk of fortune, escaped with facial and head injuries. Escaped is the wrong word. He was never the same again. Some form of shell shock, I suppose. Cyphre stubbed out his cigar in the ashtray and toyed with the age-yellowed ivory holder.
It was carved in the shape of a coiled serpent with the head of a crowing rooster. I gave Johnny some help at the start of his career. I was never his agent, but I was able to use my influence in his behalf. In recognition of my assistance, which was considerable, we had a contract. Certain collateral was involved. This was to be forfeited in the event of his death. But Johnny had friends and money, a good deal of money. Although he was by nature profligate, his earnings for the two years prior to his induction were considerable; more than any one man could squander.
Indeed it does, Mr. Cyphre tapped his ivory cigar holder absently against the rim of his empty glass, making the crystal chime like distant bells. There was some sort of radical treatment. Typical psychiatric hocus-pocus, I suppose. The end result was the same; Johnny remained a zombie.
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I never saw Johnny again after he went away to war. All that mattered was whether he was alive or dead. Once or twice each year, my attorneys contact the hospital and obtain from them a notarized affidavit stating he is indeed still among the living. This situation remained unchanged until last weekend.
Something very curious. I was in that vicinity on business and, quite on the spur of the moment, decided to pay my old acquaintance a visit. Perhaps I wanted to see what sixteen years in bed does to a man. At the hospital, I was told visiting hours were on weekday afternoons only. I insisted, and the doctor in charge made an appearance. He informed me that Johnny was undergoing special therapy and could not be disturbed until the following Monday. Cyphre slipped his cigar holder into his vest pocket and folded his hands on the table.
I stayed over in Poughkeepsie until Monday and returned to the hospital, making certain to arrive during visiting hours. Naturally, I said no. She said only family members were permitted to visit with the patients.