Monday, November 12, 2007

Norman Mailer Dies

American author Norman Mailer passed away, aged 84, on Saturday.

Mailer, who was both a journalist and novelist, is profiled in obituaries by James Cambell in the Guardian and Charles McGrath in the New York Times. There's a lovely compilation of anecdotes about Mailer on the website.

Mailer it seems was the original celebrity author, in a an age where writers generally kept a low profile, and there's lots of colourful stuff in his life including (according to A.O. Scott in an essay for
... six marriages, the failed campaign for mayor of New York, the fistfights, the wife-stabbing, the disastrous forays into filmmaking, and the political grandstanding ...
all of which threatened at the time to overshadow his contribution to literature.

Mailer wrote some 30 books, among them The Naked and the Dead, a partly autobiographical novel about World War II, and his non-fiction novel The Executioner's Song based on the life of the murderer Gary Gilmore, executed in 1977, the first person to suffer the death penalty in the US after a four-year moratorium.

He won the Pulitzer twice, as well as the National Book Award, and is credited with transforming American journalism by introducing the techniques of the novelist.

Time for some of us to discover him!

1 comment:

kamal s said...

It's sad to digest the fact that the great Norman Mailer has died. It's even sadder to know that Mr. Mailer was snubbed for Nobel, in favor of Orhan Pamuk (????????), Elfriede Jelinek, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Nadine Gordiner. The world is really a cruel place after all.

I had the best times of my life, when I had spent 3 marathon weeks to finish THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG. What breath-taking journey that was! The book itself can be compared to WAR AND PEACE, for its thickness, but WAR takes forever to finish, at least for yours truly.

Norman Mailer, you will be missed.