Rupert Holmes, on Creating a Victorian-Flavored Escape in Upstate NY
This essay is dedicated to the reader and to the world of literature as a whole. In that sense, it is also a plea to the English language. If only English spoke with such eloquence!
Rupert Holmes is a graduate of New York University and currently writes for National Geographic magazine. He is also a novelist; many of his novels are being adapted by HBO, among other outlets. His first novel, The Last Summer of the Drones of the Dead, was adapted as a Hollywood movie called Black Wings. In the movie, Rupert had the opportunity to play the role of Captain Benjamin Fuller, a Revolutionary War veteran, who is forced from his homeland during the American Revolution and becomes a mercenary.
The Last Summer of the Drones of the Dead tells the story of Rupert Holmes’s attempt to become the first “man on the moon.” Throughout, we are introduced to his family and to a fictional character named Harry, who is a revolutionary turned bounty hunter for a group of British soldiers.
Rupert Holmes, who never met the man he chose to represent him, tells me in an email that Harry is one of several characters his father invented in between his two books.
“So I didn’t know him but I liked him, and thought he was a very good character,” Holmes says. “He was a fighter-for-hire — someone who could not be captured, but I could kill him.”
A novel’s opening sentence is its greatest test of its author’s voice. That is, of course, true of Rupert Holmes’s, who tells us in his opening sentence: “I wish I had never met him as I wanted to, as I am, and as I do not.”
The “as he does not” makes his character into the antithesis of the modern American. I would be remiss to conclude this essay with the words “The American spirit is under attack.” The American spirit is always under attack. It is the true voice of our nation.
The American spirit has three elements: freedom, individualism, and the will to succeed. Rupert Holmes, and his