07.37

Mailer Gets Hammered.” Article by Gerald Howard. New York Times Book Review, 26 August 2007, 27. Account of Mailer being interviewed at the Walter Reade Theater of Lincoln Center by Michael Chaiken, Kent Jones and J. Michael Lennon prior to a showing of Maidstone (71.28) on 22 July. It was Mailer’s last public appearance. Howard focuses on his impressions of the film, but does quote Mailer’s characterization of the role of film director as being “equivalent to being a general in a war in which no blood was shed.”

07.36

“Get Your Ass Off My Pillow.” Article-interview by Andrew O’Hagan. Harper’s Magazine, September, 22-24.

07.35

The Road from Danzig.” Review of four Günter Grass books, including his memoir, The Onion, by Timothy Garton Ash. Mailer is quoted defending Grass for his wartime service in the Waffen-SS. See 07.33.

07.34

“Tough Guys Do God.” Article-interview by Sue Fox. Jewish Chronicle, 29 June, 25-26. Mailer comments on Jews and the Holocaust in this piece. He compares New York Jews to Berlin Jews before WWII: “The fact is the Jews of New York are in the same position as the wealthy Jews were in Berlin. We do have great control over press, publishing, the arts and department stores.” On the Holocaust: “I don’t think there is any explanation for the Holocaust without positing a devil, because I find the opposite to that philosophically odious and obscene. God was testing us? God was punishing us? Those are odious arguments.”

07.33

“Arts, Briefly.” Squib by Lawrence Van Gelder. New York Times, 29 June. Speaking at the New York Public Library with Günter Grass, Mailer defended Grass for belatedly revealing that he had served in the Waffen-SS as a teenager. Mailer said he searched his own life to understand: “What have I held onto for so long?” He answered his own question: the stabbing of his second wife Adele in 1960. “It’s something I’ll probably never write about,” he said. See November-December 1960 entries, 07.35.

07.32

“Norman Mailer: From the Archive.” Paris Review, no. 181 (summer), 81-86. Five pages of documents from the Mailer archive at the Ransom Center, University of Texas-Austin, are reproduced on these pages, including Mailer’s sketch of the fictional island of Anopopei, the setting for The Naked and the Dead (48.2).

07.31

The Art of Fiction, No. 193, Norman Mailer.” Interview by Andrew O’Hagan. Paris Review, no. 181 (summer), 44-80. Omnibus interview conducted in April that explores many themes and ideas, and a dozen of his major books. Very important interview by a novelist who is quite familiar and friendly with Mailer. At the outset, Mailer comments on style:

There’s such a thing as having too much style. I think the only one who ever got away with it is Proust. He really had a perfect mating of material and style. Usually if you have a great style your material will be more constrained. That applies to Henry James and it applies to Hemingway. The reverse of that would be Zola, whose style is reasonably decent, nothing remarkable, because the material is so prodigious. I think in my own work I’ve gone through the poles of style. It is at its best in An American Dream [65.7] and virtually nonexistent in The Executioner’s Song [79.14], because the material is prodigious. In An American Dream it was all my own imagining. I was cooking the dish.

07.30

“Oh, the Devils He Knows.” Interview by Ron Rosenbaum. Moment: Jewish Politics, Culture & Religion, June, 30-35, 60. One of Mailer’s longest discussions of the Holocaust and its effects. In the 1950s, the mass extermination of Jews, he says, made him begin to think that death was becoming meaningless. He recoiled from this idea: “Death is important, and when death is without meaning, it’s dangerous.” He also discusses how he got the idea for The Castle in the Forest (07.10) after reading Rosenbaum’s book, Explaining Hitler.

Moment-Magazine-07.30

07.29

“The Pictures: Tough Guys.” Article-interview by Mark Singer. New Yorker, 21 May, 30-31. Account of a reunion of some of the cast and crew of Mailer’s 1987 film, Tough Guys Don’t Dance (84.17) at his Brooklyn apartment. Mailer says that his memory

for details of where something took place, when it happened, is very spotty. What I will remember is the emotional tone of a meeting. Facts you can always look up somewhere. If you’re writing a novel, you try to keep the navigator going. . . On a given day, if you take a wrong turn you can lose six months.

07.28a

Writers Take Out their Knives.” Article-interview Motoko Rich. New York Times. “Ideas and Trends,” 20 May, 3. Seven writers (Mailer, Christopher Buckley, Ann Patchett, Stephen King, Neal Pollack, Joyce Carol Oates and Jonathan Franzen) are asked to name some books in need of truncation. Mailer’s list: For Whom the Bell Tolls, U.S.A., Absalom, Absalom, The Grapes of Wrath, Look Homeward, Angel, Of Time and the River, The Web and the Rock, You Can’t Go Home Again, Some Came Running, Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, Beloved, The World According to Garp, and three of his own: The Executioner’s Song, Ancient Evenings, Harlot’s Ghost. See 91.31a.