Critical Mass: Norman Mailer at 100
With Mailer’s 100 birthday approaching, Philip Martin writes an overview of Mailer’s life and highlights recent publications, arguing:
He was a technician of language whose sentences would wend like long, slow-burning fuses, exploding at the end. You could find beauty in his most boorish arguments, if you were attuned to the skip and frolic of his voice.
Yet he played a music that was slipping from fashion even as he invented it, wrote long books in a time of short attention spans, and insisted on making nuanced points in an age where the people were losing their ear for anything but violent declamation. He wrote what might be the greatest American war novel — the greatest American anti-war novel ever.
That's enough to save him from cancellation.
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