William Hjortsberg

William Hjortsberg (b. 1941) is an acclaimed author of novels and screenplays. Born in New York City, he attended college at Dartmouth and spent a year at the Yale School of Drama before leaving to become a writer. For the next few years he lived in the Caribbean and Europe, writing two unpublished novels, the second of which earned him a creative writing fellowship at Stanford University.When his fellowship ended in 1968, Hjortsberg was discouraged, still unpublished, and making ends meet as a grocery store stock boy. No longer believing he could make a living as a novelist, he began writing strictly for his own amusement. The result was Alp (1969), an absurd story of an Alpine skiing village which Hjortsberg’s friend Thomas McGuane called, “quite possibly the finest comic novel written in America.”In the 1970s, Hjortsberg wrote two science fiction works: Gray Matters (1971) and Symbiography (1973). The first, a novel about human brains kept alive by science, was inspired by an off-the-cuff remark Hjortsberg made at a cocktail party. The second, a post-apocalyptic tale of a man who creates dreams, was later published in condensed form in Penthouse.After publishing Toro! Toro! Toro! (1974), a comic jab at the macho world of bullfighting, Hjortsberg wrote his best-known novel, Falling Angel (1978). This hard-boiled detective story with an occult twist was adapted for the screen as Angel Heart (1987), starring Robert De Niro. Hjortsberg also wrote the screenplay for Legend (1986), a dark fairy tale directed by Ridley Scott. In addition to being nominated for an Edgar Award for Falling Angel, Hjortsberg has won two Playboy Editorial Awards, for which he beat out Graham Greene and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. His most recent work is Jubilee Hitchhiker (2012), a biography of author Richard Brautigan. Hjortsberg lives with his family in Montana.Learn more at: http://www.openroadmedia.com/authors/...

Books

Quotes

Kamil Ramazanovhas quotedlast year
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Andrei Zaharkevichhas quoted3 months ago
FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH and yesterday’s snowstorm lingered in the streets like a leftover curse. The slush outside was ankle-deep. Across Seventh Avenue a treadmill parade of lightbulb headlines marched endlessly around Times Tower’s terra cotta façade: … HAWAII IS VOTED INTO UNION AS 50TH STATE: HOUSE GRANTS FINAL APPROVAL, 232 TO 89; EISENHOWER’S SIGNATURE OF BILL ASSURED … Hawaii, sweet land of pineapples and Haleloki; ukeleles strumming, sunshine and surf, grass skirts swaying in the tropical breeze.
I spun my chair around and stared out at Times Square. The Camels spectacular on the Claridge puffed fat steam smoke rings out over the snarling traffic. The dapper gentleman on the sign, mouth frozen in a round O of perpetual surprise, was Broadway’s harbinger of spring. Earlier in the week, teams of scaffold-hung painters transformed the smoker’s dark winter homburg and chesterfield overcoat into seersucker and panama straw; not as poetic as the Capistrano swallows, but it got the message across. My building was built before the turn of the century; a four-story brick pile held together with soot and pigeon dung. An Easter bonnet of billboards flourished on the roof, advertising flights to Miami and various brands of beer. There was a cigar store on the corner, a Pokerino parlor, two hot dog stands, and the Rialto Theatre, mid-block. The entrance was tucked between a peep-show bookshop and a novelty place, show windows stacked with whoopee cushions and plaster dog turds
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