At the heart of And One Fine Morning lies the story of the heart attack, failed recovery and death of Mark Hayes, the author’s father, in the mid-1950s, when he was at the height of his career as one of Minnesota’s most successful modernist architects. It is also the story of the ”Minnesota Irish” who emigrated from Ireland during the Great Hunger. In a voice that is whimsical, comical, ironic and heart-rending, Hayes describes post-war life in a Catholic and Irish American community.
Nick Hayes’ Looking for Leningrad: My Soviet Life is a memoir of the author’s life and career in Russia. Hayes takes the reader into the lost world of what was the Soviet Union from the “era of stagnation” or the last years of Brezhnev’s rule, to the times of hope that came in the 1980s with Gorbachev’s perestroika, and, finally, the turbulence of the 1990s and rise of Vladimir Putin. Along the way Hayes introduces the reader to a cast of unforgettable characters from seemingly ordinary Russians coping to survive and game the system to the literary and cultural icons of the Russian underground. In the end, Hayes makes a case for what was lost with the disappearance of planet USSR and the rise of the neo-totalitarians of Putin and company.
Looking for Leningrad will be published by the Nodin Press in 2018.