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Rafael Yglesias (born May 12, 1954) is an American novelist and screenwriter best known for the 1993 movie Fearless, which he adapted from his own novel of the same name.
Yglesias was born and raised in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood. His parents were the novelists Jose Yglesias and Helen Yglesias. He attended the Horace Mann School and the George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Maine, but dropped out three months into 10th grade to complete his first novel, Hide Fox, and All After, published in 1972.
He married Margaret Joskow in 1977. Their sons are journalist Matthew Yglesias; and Nicholas, a novelist. Joskow’s illness and death from cancer formed the basis of Yglesias’s critically acclaimed novel A Happy Marriage, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2009. He married Donna Redel in 2013; they separated in 2014 and subsequently divorced. He is now married to the novelist Ann Packer and lives in New York.
Following his early start, Yglesias continued writing novels throughout his career. His best known works in addition to A Happy Marriage are probably Dr. Neruda’s Cure for Evil, about a psychiatrist who draws on his own history of trauma to attempt an unorthodox cure of his patients, and The Wisdom of Perversity, which examines the after-effects of child sexual abuse on its victims. The past’s intrusion on the present has been identified as an abiding theme in Yglesias’s work.
Yglesias began writing screenplays in 1980. In addition to Fearless, directed by Peter Weir and starring Jeff Bridges, his films include Death and the Maiden, directed by Roman Polanski and based on the play by Ariel Dorfman; Les Misérables, directed by Bille August and based on the novel by Victor Hugo, and From Hell, directed by the Hughes Brothers and based on the novel by Alan Moore. His film Dark Water is a remake of a J-horror film of the same name and was directed by Walter Salles.
Yglesias turned to television writing in the mid-2000s when with the screenwriter Tom Schulman he adapted The Anatomy of Hope, a nonfiction book by Jerome Groopman about the psychological experience of illness, for HBO. The pilot was directed by J.J. Abrams but the network declined to move forward with a full series order.
The revelation of possible child sexual abuse by Woody Allen of his adopted daughter prompted Yglesias to publish in Slate a rare nonfiction piece about his decision, despite his own history of having been a victim of child sexual abuse, to work with Polanski, like Allen a filmmaker involved in a sexual abuse scandal. The essay was hailed for its honesty and refusal to simplify the issues involved.
- Hide Fox, and All After
- The Work Is Innocent
- The Game Player
- Hot Properties
- Only Children
- The Murderer Next Door
- Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil
- A Happy Marriage
- The Wisdom of Perversity
- Fabulous at Fifty