Monday, November 12, 2007

Stormin' Norman

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Norman Mailer. He always seemed to be one of those artists who are clearly assholes (Picasso, anyone?) but produce exemplary work. Would you rather be a dick and a genius or would you rather be a nice guy and write like Dave Barry?

Anyway, I've read a few of his books. Two are up there with my all-time favorites. His debut novel, the World War II classic, The Naked and the Dead and the Pulitzer-prize winning The Executioner's Song.

The Executioner's Song is similar to In Cold Blood in that it is a non-fiction novel about murder. His study of Gary Glimore is fascinating. At the time he was the first person executed after the death penalty was reinstated after being outlawed for four years.

Gilmore lived in the Portland area for several years and his younger brother Mikal grew up to become a writer for Rolling Stone and later penned his own book on him, Shot Through the Heart.

Do yourself a favor and pick up The Executioner's Song. It's a must-read and a stunning example of Mailer's craft.

2 comments:

TheSizzler said...

I can't hear or read the name Gary Gilmore without thinking of The Adverts.

Apropos of nothing.

Pete Best said...

Yeah, me too. I should have recommended the Tommy Lee Jones/Rosanna Arquette movie of Executioner's Song. It's really pretty good, and if I recall correctly - quite steamy...