As butler to William Randolph Hearst at San Simeon castle, Christian Benediktsson lives quietly, almost invisibly. He completes his tasks efficiently and with aplomb, catering to the whims of the volatile Chief and overseeing the running of the hectic household. Privy to the goings-on of the celebrity guests who visit as well as to Hearst’s intimate relationship with his mistress, the actress Marion Davies, he is the picture of discretion. An extremely private man, those around him know nothing of him or his life. And so it is in his thoughts and in unsent letters to his wife back in Iceland that we witness the unraveling of his former life, which began when he abandoned her and their children for an actress in New York City. Once a successful businessman, he erases his past and himself after a sudden tragic death and his financial ruin, the result of a jilted lover’s vengeance. Walking into the Night is a stunning portrait of a man wrestling with guilt and secret passions.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Walking Into the Night|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Walking Into the Night|
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Walking Into the Night
The cypress rested in its shadow.
He tripped on the steps up to the main building but managed not to fall. Fuchsia blossoms met his eye as he straightened up; azaleas beyond them. He walked over to the cypress and leaned against it while he caught his breath. He was hot in his black suit in the afternoon sun. Reaching into his pocket, he took out a white handkerchief to mop his brow and pat his cheeks. Fairweather clouds hovered on the horizon, while closer to shore gleaming ripples tossed back and forth. He sensed a breeze, and suddenly a sharp whistling sound passed through the trees and a bell clanged in one of the towers. Once, then silence. He noticed a hint of lavender as he put the handkerchief back in his pocket and continued on his way.
The Chief had mislaid his magnifying glass. Kristjan-or, rather, Christian Benediktsson, as he had called himself since coming to this country during the Great War, twenty years ago-had spent the morning hunting for it in the old man's bedroom and on the balcony outside, in the gothic library next door and down in the reception room, Þrst by the teletype machine, then on the jigsaw-puzzle and chess tables, but without success. He had paused in his search for a moment when the teletype suddenly began to hum, and hesitated before the machine, waiting for the message the Chief had been expecting.
"What on earth can have happened to that magnifying glass, Christian?" asked the old man as his butler handed him the telegram and reported his failure. The Chief glanced at the message, then went to the window and said: "Unless I left it outside yesterday."
Kristjan thought he remembered seeing his emp