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98.3

Life and Letters: The Contender.” Article-interview by David Denby. Photographs by Richard Avedon. New Yorker, 20 April, 60-66, 68-71. Denby’s piece is simultaneously an interview, a review of The Time of Our Time (98.7), an overview of Mailer’s career, a thoughtful analysis of his staying power and, overall, one of the finest appreciations of Mailer published in the 90s. When Denby suggests that organizing the selections in 98.7 in the order of composition might have resulted in a “spiritual autobiography,” Mailer says, “I’ve been waiting to write an autobiographical novel all these years, but I’ve been waiting to become the hero of my own life in order to write it. I have never become the hero of my own life.” During his visit to Mailer’s home in Provincetown, Denby engages him on several topics: President Clinton, “The White Negro” (57.1), his weight and diet, Provincetown, reincarnation, the media, Gore Vidal, corporations and the Women’s Liberation movement. Asked how he felt when the movement “began to gather steam, roughly thirty years ago,” he says, “Like the British when they lost India.”

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