Monday, November 12, 2007

Norman Mailer

I once bumped into my uncle on the subway, back when I still lived in the city. He noticed the book I was carrying and asked me what I was reading. I was incredibly embarrassed to admit that, in fact, I was reading Barbary Shore by Norman Mailer.

So now Mailer's gone, and it's the end of an era and all that. But I hardly have to explain why reading Mailer was a rather gauche activity for someone of my generation. The guy was nutty, so much of what he fixated upon was repulsive, and his behavior was frequently of a piece with it all. But at the end of the subway ride even I had to admit that, even though I didn't like what he wrote, he knew how to pull a reader in.

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