Monday, March 21, 2016

Memory of an invisible man

In 1987, I read a science fiction adventure novel by a debut author H.F. Saint.


 paperback edition I read

It has stayed with me through the years, and the book retains a cult following, so I set out to interview Saint.

Though the "H" stands for "Harry," the "H.F." might as well stand for "hard to find."

The book became a best-seller and inspired a 1992 movie of the same name starring Chevy Chase as the titular character. But Saint did not publish another novel and granted almost no interviews; here is the only one I found, from 1987 (click "MP3 file"). It does not appear that there is even a single photo of him online.

It's almost as if the title refers not to fictional character Nicholas Halloway but to Saint himself. This reminds me of another instance:

First panel of the first Batman story (1939), 
written by Bill Finger, who recently and finally became

What little of Saint's vital stats I could glean from the Internet:

  • born Syracuse, 2/13/41
  • attended Haverford College
  • businessman for 20 years prior to publishing the book
  • four children from ages 5 to 19 (in 1987), meaning born between 1968 and 1982

To try to track down Saint, I got a copy of a first edition of the book from the library to comb the acknowledgments, if any. Between the copyright page and flap copy, it yielded only two names: Harry Ford, the designer (who died in 2000) and James Steinberg, the jacket designer.

I reached out to James who kindly responded but never met Saint and knew nothing about him.

I found and contacted Saint's agency, who forwarded my message (Saint apparently lives in France). It'd been so long since they'd been in touch with him that they didn't even know if the contact info they had for him was current. When I followed up, so did they, and then reported that they finally heard back from Saint.

"He is not interested in doing any interviews at this time."

I will cling to that "at this time" and hold out hope that he may reconsider doing a reflective interview for posterity.

Either way, if anyone knows his children, I'd love to connect with them. Please send them my way.

Saint can stay mostly invisible but hopefully we can catch some glimpse of his life before it's too late.

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