papeetepatrick

Norman Mailer dies at 84

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Thanks for the link, papeetepatrick. A very nice quote from Gore Vidal in the article:

Gore Vidal, with whom he frequently wrangled, once wrote: “Mailer is forever shouting at us that he is about to tell us something we must know or has just told us something revelatory and we failed to hear him or that he will, God grant his poor abused brain and body just one more chance, get through to us so that we will know. Each time he speaks he must become more bold, more loud, put on brighter motley and shake more foolish bells. Yet of all my contemporaries I retain the greatest affection for Norman as a force and as an artist. He is a man whose faults, though many, add to rather than subtract from the sum of his natural achievements.”

I can think of many ways in which Mailer’s writing annoyed me even when I liked it and yet I was always grateful to have him around. I, too, find it hard to believe he’s gone – he was on Charlie Rose not long ago talking about his Hitler book and seemed very hale. But at that age one never knows.

He may very well have been the last of his kind – our Big Writer in journalism and fiction, the successor to Hemingway in that role, for better and worse. I’m not sure if it’s possible for a novelist to hold that kind of position in our culture and public life any more (or even if today’s writers aspire to it). May he rest in peace – although he probably won’t be too happy resting in peace and will doubtless be working on a way to harangue us from the Great Beyond.

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The books I like:

An American Dream

Of a Fire on the Moon

Parts of Barbary Coast

His campaign convention pieces

Harlot’s Ghost – okay, I didn’t read the whole thing

The Executioner’s Song

Why Are We in Vietnam?

Marilyn – he did it for the moolah and it’s fast and lazy, but it’s also got great stuff only he would think of

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dirac--you read more than I did, and only got to him in the last 2 years, except for 'Marilyn', which I think is marvelous in its way too. I love 'The American Dream', 'the Deer Park' (exceptional Hollywood novel), the Picasso bio (this has incredible insights), and 'Harlot's Ghost', which I read sometime in the spring, and had also never though I'd finish it, but it's riveting. Mailer was going to have to talk about the CIA every chance he got, and he obviously talked to some real operatives, which he admits, but is not going to name. There's also that movie with Ryan O'Neal, which I watched a few years ago, but wasn't bowled over by--up at some New England beach house, but Mailer made the movie. Always had an interesting article when any of the hot topics came up, whether O.J., or in the last few years, there was some political writing in NYRB. I haven't read the Hitler book, which I assume is his last big piece.

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I’ve never gotten around to The Deer Park. I have Armies of the Night on my bookshelf, and haven’t read that either, embarrassing to admit.

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I, too, find it hard to believe he’s gone – he was on Charlie Rose not long ago talking about his Hitler book and seemed very hale. But at that age one never knows.

There was a "Talk of the Town" piece on him in The New Yorker, "Tough Guy", which made it sound like he was at the age where being honored was exhausting.

Here is the Postscript by Louis Menard from the 10 November 07 issue of the magazine.

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Thanks, Helene. Although I quite disagree that there's no one out there reading 'Harlot's Ghost,' obviously.

'Harlot's Ghost', which I read sometime in the spring, and had also never though I'd finish it, but it's riveting.

It's a Mailer book for people who really like Mailer. (I could have finished it, but I became distracted unavoidably by something else and never returned to it.)

'The Executioner's Song' is the Mailer book for people who don't really like Mailer, although it's a great book.

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Nobody else has read anything by Mailer that they'd like to mention?? Speak up, please.

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http://www.nybooks.com/authors/mailer

Nice Robert Silvers couple of paragraphs and links to reviews of Mailer books and reviews by Mailer himself, including the first issue: He reviewed McCarthy's 'The Group', and she also reviews Burroughs in that issue. I want to get to these shortly.

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