Today, Mailer would have turned 91. His last novel, The Castle in the Forest, was as complicated as its author. Few things say “dangerous writing territory” like a story about Hitler’s childhood. And yet Castle received the best critical reviews of Mailer’s career since ExecutionerPublishers Weekly gave it a starred review, concluding that, “Mailer arrives at a somber, compelling portrait of a monstrous soul,” while Booklist commented that “In his first novel in more than a decade, Mailer continues to provoke. Only a writer with his temerity would attempt a novel interpreting perhaps the most notorious figure in modern history, Adolf Hitler.”

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