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Free read The Girl on the Via Flaminia

Robert is an American soldier in occupied Rome during the final months of World War II Lisa is a young This is a tough novel to evaluate aesthetically as it s about eually divided between its satisfying uses of the Hemingwayhard boiled style and some pretty hackneyed and melodramatic passages as well Historically however it s uite fascinating and teaches an important lesson yet another reason to avoid war as if death destruction and simply cost were not already sufficient deterrents The Girl on the Via Flaminia is a semi panoramic snapshot of the US occupation of Italy Rome specifically in the latter stages of WWII The characters are believable and well chosen even if they pretty clearly represent types the young woman is poor degraded Italy forced to sell itself like a streetwalker to the American soldier who represents the semi detached lonely and tired conuerers etc etc It s not so much heavy handed as just obvious It would have worked better I think in a film where one hasn t the leisure of a reading to see how the machine is working distracted as we are by the flickering images Noting that Hayes was I guess at the same time that he wrote this helping Roberto Rossellini to create the cinematic and thematically similar masterpiece Paisa Note British born but educated in the USA after the war Hayes retuned to the States and went Hollywood but mostly worked in TV penning episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and improbably MannixOne flaw of The Girl in my opinion in terms of its aesthetics is that the tale is rather unrelentingly grim Although that s pretty clearly the point and a real lesson after all of the American revisionist history that s hung over WWII ever since its end a kind of residua I suppose of the propaganda fed the folks back home during the war Here at least the shitty situation of a conuered nation internally divided even before the war between fascists and anti fascists being sorted out by a former enemy turned liberator who doesn t know which Italians it can trust and which it needs to fear a situation that the looming cold war will only complicate literally starving to death while Yanks and Nazis fight to get to or defend Berlin can only be a picture of despair desperation and growing disillusionment And it is Still even at terse 160 pp it s hard to read uickly as I just had to come up for air occasionallyI think I ll write about this one for our local English language Newspaper the Florence News comparing and contrasting it with Curzio Malaparte s similar yet far superior in terms of style and reading pleasure portrait of the US occupation of Naples La pelle I ll post the article here once it s publishedFinally wrote that article Here it isEnglish writers in Post War Rome and Cinecitt A couple of years ago in these very pages I reviewed Jess Harper s then new novel Beautiful Ruins and praised its delightful postmodern blending of American family histories the artist s calling and Italy s dolce vita period replete with American film stars making swords and sandals epics at Cinecitt by day while hobnobbing with the jet set on the Via Veneto by night Well it turns out that there were some American and British writers in Rome during that fabled post war period whose works also bear reading today Let me put a pair of these novels on you radar should that time and place piue your interest namely Alfred Hayes s The Girl on the Via Flaminia and Muriel Spark s The Public ImageAlfred Hayes was born in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London in 1911 At the age of three however his family relocated to New York where he grew up and went to university Twelve years too young to be an ambulance driver in WWI like Hemingway and really a bit too old to be a soldier come WWII Hayes was drafted anyway and landed in Rome in the morale division of the US Army Special Services I would not say however that moral was Hayes s strong point since his writing is primarily empathetic and conseuently tragic in tone However what might not have been so good for his army stint was certainly good for what followed for he left us three books of poetry seven novels and a bevy of film and TV scripts that while they never catapulted him to fame bear up pretty well todayTwo of Hayes s novels All Thy Conuests 1946 and The Girl on the Via Flaminia 1947 take place in recently liberated Rome where Hayes remained after the war contributing his literary talents to the explosion of neo realistic films that sprouted from the rubble of that city and took the cinematic world by storm notably Rosselini s Pais and De Sica s Bicycle Thieves Of the two novels The Girl on the Via Flaminia remains in print Penguin Classics 2018 and is well worth a read This novel takes its place alongside Italian journalist Curzio Malaparte s excellent semi fictional The Skin as an evocation of the uneasy alliance between liberator and liberated in post war Italy Like all of Hayes s novels the accent is on solitude and loneliness and the tension of the plot revolves around a lonely American soldier looking for love and a humiliated Roman woman who seems to have no other choice for survival but to sell herself to the highest bidder Yes the novel is bleak yet also beautifully written in Hayes s post Hemingway hardboiled prose and every page rings with the truth of the tragedy of the situationAfter his Roman experiences Hayes found himself back in New York initially and then in Hollywood where he continued to write for film and finally television and where he died in 1985 He shared an office with Mel Brooks at Columbia in the 50s and finished his screenwriting career by writing for TV Two of his shorter novels of the Hollywood period In Love 1953 and My Face for the World to See 1958 have been reissued by NYRB Classics and are still getting rave reviews to this dayMuriel Spark the Scottish born uintessential female British novelist of the twentieth Century also flirted with Rome she moved there in the late 60s after some years in New York and before settling definitively in Oliveto here in Tuscany in the early 70s The Public Image 1968 remains Spark s Roman period legacy a novel that charts the trials and tribulations of a British actress Annabel attempting to construct and maintain a number of selves her real life as a wife and mother her public image and the tiger lady that she portrays in films Spark s wicked wit really shines here as in all of her novels and The Public Image is a fun short read from the much decadent latter end of Cinecitt s heyday Reading it I couldn t help but wonder if the model for Annabel wasn t scream ueen Barbara Steele the British actress who failed rather spectacularly in Hollywood only to carve out a career in uirky and kitschy Italian horror films beginning with Mario Bava s stunning Mask of Satan Black Sunday in the US in 1960And yes the novel apparently inspired the name of John Lydon s post Sex Pistols group Public Image Ltd and the lyrics to the song of the same name

characters ☆ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ☆ Alfred Hayes

The Girl on the Via Flaminia

Led by their separate and eually desperate needs But can love between victor and vanuished ever blossom The Girl On The Via Flaminia is the third short novel by Alfred Hayes that has been republished in recent years Like In Love and My face For The World To See it absolutely deserves to be rediscovered by a whole new generation of readers and Hayes himself deserves to be at last considered for what he is one of the major American writers of the last century In The Girl On The Via Flaminia a lonely traumatized American soldier in Rome at the end of WWII makes an arrangement with an Italian girl who has also been traumatized by the ravages of the conflict in her homeland But nothing goes has planned War is ugly its conseuences horrific the occupation of a country creates damages beyond imagination peace is not what it is supposed to be With Hayes all the clich s about the supposedly good war are torn to pieces and with a raw aching humanity he shows us through a beautifully intimate chamber piece deliberately avoiding all things epic the reality of a ravaged Italy and of its distraught people Women especially are at the heart of this story women who are used by foreign soldiers by their own countrymen and by a society that treat them shamefully The Girl On The Via Flaminia is a sad heartbreaking novel that rings eerily and depressingly modern and contemporary even if some references are definitely of their time Hayes is a master at dissecting complex human emotions in a subtle non sentimental way and his prose is exuisite and often poetic without ever being precious There are pages in this book about the traumas of war that are extraordinarily powerful With Hayes the drab reality that his characters are fighting with destroys most of the time the few glimmer of hopes In that sense the ambiguous uncertain ending is devastating

Alfred Hayes ☆ 9 Summary

Woman obliged to work in Mamma Adele's on the Via Flaminia The passion they feel for one another is fue After serving in the US army in the Second World War the British born writer Alfred Hayes stayed on in Rome at the end of the conflict where he worked with some of the leading lights in the Italian neo realist film movement Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini This talent for scriptwriting shows in Hayes 1949 novel The Girl on the Via Flaminia a slim work which zooms in on a microcosm of a society irreparably damaged by the ravages of war It s a brilliant bleak yet beautifully written book shot through with an aching sense of pain and sadness Here s how it opensThe wind blew through Europe It was a cold wind and there were no lights in the city p3To read the rest of my review please click here


10 thoughts on “The Girl on the Via Flaminia

  1. says:

    they bomb each other they destroy cities – but a girl in bed is a crimeIt’s no secret that women in wartime often resort to means outsides their usual moral code and in this short novel set during the tail end of WW2 in Italy the plight of women forced to make desperate choices mirrors the ambiguous nature of the Liberation of Rome which to many Italian citizens was of an Occupation than a Liberation Hayes places a British and an Ame

  2. says:

    This is a tough novel to evaluate aesthetically as it's about eually divided between its satisfying uses of the Hemingwayhard boiled style and some pretty hackneyed and melodramatic passages as well Historically however it's uite fascinating and teaches an important lesson yet another reason to avoid war as if death destruction and simply cost were not already sufficient deterrents The Girl on the Via Flaminia is a semi panoramic snapsho

  3. says:

    Not your typical World War 2 novel A short well written pleasant balance between prose and dialogue I would describe this as a very intimate novel Most of the story with the exception of a couple of scenes takes place in two rooms of an Italian home on you guessed it the Via Flaminia in Rome As a reader I became very much at home i

  4. says:

    I loved this modest novel It starts in a uiet way The wind blew through Europe It was a cold wind and there were no lights in the city The cold wind blows through the rest of the narrativeIt's set in Italy just before the end of the second World War but nobody knew at this time that the war would end in a few m

  5. says:

    It's set in Rome Italy during World War II Robert is an American stationed in Rome during the period following

  6. says:

    After serving in the US army in the Second World War the British born writer Alfred Hayes stayed on in Rome at the end of the conflict where he worked with some of the leading lights in the Italian neo realist film movement Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini This talent for scriptwriting shows in Hayes’ 1949 novel The Girl on the Vi

  7. says:

    Like the Italian Neo Realist filmmakers he worked with in Italy Alfred Hayes focusses his social drama against the larger backdrop of a world

  8. says:

    This is a short booka book about a man and a woman brought together in Rome after the war The liberation of Rome was not a joyful time for many Italians Young women doing what they had to to feed themselves and their families This bo

  9. says:

    The Girl On The Via Flaminia is the third short novel by Alfred Hayes that has been republished in recent years Like In Love and My face For The World To See it absolutely deserves to be rediscovered by a whole new generation of readers and Hayes himself deserves to be at last considered for what he is one of the major Am

  10. says:

    First time reading Hayes although I've known about him for some time now A uick short novel that brings sadness to your heart and the truth to your eyesTimes during WW2 not only made it difficult for the men but also the women Hayes in a short time manages to capture our main characters beautifully Do yourself a favor and read it

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