Jackson's first published story, "Palm Sunday", appeared in the Partisan Review in 1939. It focused on the debauched organist of a church the narrators attended as children.
In the 1940s Jackson wrote a trio of novels, beginning with The Lost Weekend published by Farrar & Rinehart in 1944. This autobiographical novel chronicled a struggling writer's five day drinking binge. It earned Charles R. Jackson lasting recognition.
The following year Paramount Pictures paid $35,000 for the rights to adapt the novel into the a film version of the same name. The Academy Award winning film was directed by Billy Wilder and starred Ray Milland in the lead role of Don Birnam.
Jackson's second published novel of the 1940s, titled The Fall of Valor, was released in 1946 and takes its name from a passage in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. Set in 1943, it detailed a professor's obsession with a young, handsome Marine. The Fall of Valor received mixed reviews, and, though sales were respectable, was considerably less successful than Jackson's famous first novel.
Jackson's The Outer Edges was released in 1948 and dealt with the gruesome rape and murder of two girls in Westchester County, New York. The Outer Edges also received mixed reviews, and sales were poor relative to his previous novels.
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A self-proclaimed alcoholic, Jackson's novel, The Lost Weekend, is a heart breaker about Don Biman, a gay man on a five-day binge who is constitutionally incapable of honesty and succumbs to the deadly disease. (Disclosure: my second novel, “A Comfortable Corner”, is about a gay man living with an active alcoholic who successfully enters a recovery program at the end.) Jackson's scorching, unforgettable novel was praised deservedly to the sky when it was published in 1944 and was made into an Oscar-winning movie in 1945--when Oscar was no laughing matter--by Billy Wilder with Ray Milland and the divine Jane Wyman playing Helen, Don's patient friend in the book transformed into his love-object in a fine movie stripped of Don's gay soul. I just reread this masterpiece recently and was moved to tears yet again at its terrifying end when Don crawls into bed wondering, "Why did they make such a fuss?" Oy! --Vincent Virga( Further ReadingsCollapse )
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