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The Trouble With Nostalgia: Douglas Light’s Days of ‘East Fifth Bliss’

photo-27Kathryn Doyle Douglas Light outside of the building
that inspired “East Fifth Bliss”

With “The Trouble With Bliss” opening tomorrow, The Local took a stroll down memory lane with Douglas Light, whose novel “East Fifth Bliss” is the basis of the film starring Michael C. Hall, Lucy Liu and Peter Fonda.

An Indiana native, Mr. Light, 43, moved to the East Village in 1995 and lived for a year at 60 East Third Street while working as a waiter at what is now Bondst. Some mornings, he awoke to the sound of a Hell’s Angel cracking a bullwhip in the middle of Third Street. “I guess it would help him get over his hangover somehow,” Mr. Light remembered.

In 1996 he moved to the fourth floor of 343 East Fifth Street, the building that inspired “East Fifth Bliss,” which takes place over the course of one long weekend. “Originally it was about the building, looking into the lives of the people in all the different apartments,” he said. “Then Morris emerged as a kind of lead character and the story became about him.”

Morris Bliss, played by Michael C. Hall, is a 35-year-old who has shared an apartment with his father ever since his mother died when he was 13.

Mr. Light met the director of the film, Michael Knowles, at Velvet Cigars on Seventh Street. The fellow cigar enthusiast read the novel and quickly suggested they make a movie out of it. It took four months to adapt the novel into a screenplay. Read more…