William Hjortsberg, "a brilliantly inventive writer whose books fell into a category sometimes called 'slipstream,' a creative mix of genres often characterised by darkness lightened with playful humour," as the Guardian put it, has died. He was 76.
Hjortsberg's best-known novel was Falling Angel, published in 1978, "a mix of hard-boiled detective fiction and horror," that was made into Alan Parker's Angel Heart in 1987. He also wrote the screenplay for Ridley Scott's cult movie Legend, which appeared in 1985.
Hjortsberg was a close friend of writer Thomas McGuane, who helped Hjortsberg publish his first novel, Alp, which appeared in 1969. Other novels included Gray Matters, Nomad, Toro! Toro! Toro!, Nevermore and Mañana. He also wrote Jubilee Hitchhiker, a biography of Richard Brautigan, who, like Hjortsberg and McGuane, was a member of the "Montana Gang."