The Fight. Los Angeles: Taschen, 15 July. 260 pp., $700, oversize, abridged, limited edition of 1974 copies. No dedication. Edited by Nina Weiner. Conceived by Lawrence Schiller. Photos by Howard Bingham and Neil Leifer. Introduction by J. Michael Lennon.
On 12 December, Taschen Books publishes an abridged version of Marilyn, Mailer, 1973 biography. Norman Mailer/Bert Stern/Marilyn Monroe was conceived by Lawrence Schiller using photographs by Bert Stern, and an abridged text edited by J. Michael Lennon.
In November “Norris Mailer: A Life in Words” is published in the Mailer Review. The first 166 pages of this issue are devoted to remembrances of Norris Church Mailer, who died on 21 November 2010, including many words from her husband.
On 26 January, Mornings with Mailer: A Recollection of Friendship, by Dwayne Raymond, is published by HarperCollins. This memoir of Mailer’s last days in Provincetown is by his assistant from 2003 to Mailer’s death in 2007. Contains many quotations from Mailer and a detailed depiction of his domestic and professional life during his final years.
On 10 April, A Ticket to the Circus by Norris Church Mailer is published by Random House. This memoir by Mailer’s sixth wife, to whom he was married for 27 years, includes numerous remembered words from her husband, and several of his love letters to her.
On 1 June, Norman Mailer: Moonfire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11, edited by J. Michael Lennon, is published by Taschen Books. Conceived by Lawrence Schiller with an introduction by Colum McCann, this abridged version of Of a Fire on the Moon, contains hundreds of photographs and maps from NASA, magazine archives and private collections.
On 9 April, a memorial service, “The Time of His Time: A Celebration of the Life of Norman Mailer,” is held at Carnegie Hall, with Charlie Rose as the master of ceremonies. All of Mailer’s children, his sister, nephew, and many friends and relatives speak at the event.
On 30 June, Blue Night: Photographs by George Hirose, is published by Provincetown Arts Press. It contains fifty-two photographs of Provincetown shot at night with long exposures, and Mailer’s introduction, which is one of the last things he writes before his death.
On 6 October, “In the Ring: Grappling with the Twentieth Century” is published in New Yorker. It consists of thirty-eight letters from Mailer to various correspondents from 1945-1988. Eighteen of the letters are later collected in Selected Letters of Norman Mailer.
In November, the 2008 double issue of the Mailer Review appears. It contains the statements made by 25 individuals, members of Mailer’s family and his friends, at the 9 April 2008 memorial program for Mailer at Carnegie Hall, sponsored by Mailer’s publisher, Random House, and produced by Norris Church Mailer, Lawrence Schiller, Carol Schneider, and J. Michael Lennon. Mailer is quoted innumerable times in these eulogies, and in many others collected in this volume.
On 23 January, The Castle in the Forest is published. Reviewed widely and with much praise, it becomes Mailer’s 11th best seller. He remains the only postwar American author to have one or more best sellers in each of seven consecutive decades.
Accompanied by John Buffalo, he goes on a book tour in the winter and early spring. In February in San Francisco, he has his last meeting with Lois Mayfield Wilson, a former lover with whom he has been friendly for almost 60 years.
The final manuscript of On God: An Uncommon Conversation is submitted in late spring. On 27 June, he appears with Günter Grass and Andrew O’Hagan at the New York Public Library, and tells the audience that this will probably be his last public appearance, but on 22 July, he has one more outing, taking part in a discussion about his films at Lincoln Center with film critic Michael Chaiken and others.
The summer number of Paris Review contains a long interview with him conducted by Andrew O’Hagan.
In October, the first issue of the Mailer Review, edited by Phillip Sipiora, and sponsored by the Mailer Society and the University of South Florida, is published.
On 3 October, enters Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York where he has surgery for a collapsed lung. A series of infections and complications ensue. Mailer dies at 4:28 a.m. on 10 November, and is buried in Provincetown a few days later.
On God is published on 16 November; an excerpt is published in New York with Mailer’s photograph on the cover. The book is overlooked in the wave of commentary following Mailer’s death, and receives few reviews.
On 24 January, The Big Empty is published. It is warmly, but not widely reviewed.
In the spring, he submits the manuscript of The Castle in the Forest to his new editor at Random House, David Ebershoff, who replaces Jason Epstein after his retirement.
On 4 May, Judith McNally, Mailer’s secretary for nearly three decades, dies. Mailer’s health worsens, and his weight loss concerns his family and doctors. Two of his old friends die, Styron on 1 November, and Robert F. Lucid on 12 December. Mailer speaks at a Boston memorial for Styron on 14 December.
In April, Mailer sells his 500-cubic-foot archive, including approximately 50,000 of his letters, to the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, for $2.5 million. Later that month, he attends a conference at the University titled “Norman Mailer Takes on America.”
On 8 September, Mailer undergoes a successful quadruple bypass operation at Mass General in Boston. On 16 November, he is awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation.
Norman Mailer’s Provincetown: The Wild West of the East, a pamphlet containing excerpts from his work about Provincetown, including his favorite poem, “The Harbors of the Moon,” is published by Provincetown Arts Press.
Mailer does two interviews (one in New York and the other in Playboy) with his son John Buffalo on politics, protest, marijuana and the Clinton-Lewinsky affairs, among other topics; these will become the basis for their jointly written 2006 book, The Big Empty: Dialogues on Politics, Sex, God, Boxing, Morality, Myth, Poker and Bad Conscience in America.
In August, Letters on An American Dream, 1963-69, a collection of 76 letters concerning Mailer’s fourth novel, edited by Lennon, is published.
His interview with Richard Stratton, a friend since the early 1970s, concerning his views on marijuana, perhaps his most extensive comment on the topic, appears in the November-December issue of High Times.
Now living full-time in Provincetown, Mailer continues work on The Castle in the Forest, and hosts Texas hold ’em poker games several nights a week.
The Spooky Art, edited by Lennon, is published on Mailer’s 80th birthday, and receives a warm reception, the review of Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times being the largest exception. Mailer writes to the publisher of the Times to complain about how her negative reviews of five consecutive books have appeared earlier than almost all other reviews, thus creating a negative atmosphere.
Modest Gifts: Poems and Drawings is published in early spring, and on 7 April, Why Are We at War? a collection of his fulminations against the Iraq War and the presidency of George W. Bush, is published.
In June, he and Lennon begin taping a series of ten conversations about his spiritual beliefs that will later be published as On God: An Uncommon Conversation.
Following the first meeting of the Norman Mailer Society in Brooklyn, Mailer and Norris entertain all attending at his Brooklyn Heights Apartment.
Begins work on a collection, The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing, consisting of excerpts from his essays, interviews and other works on the publishing world, the psychology of the writerly life, and literary techniques, with an emphasis on the role of the unconscious.
In February, Jack Abbott commits suicide in prison. Mailer issues a statement saying that Abbott’s life “was tragic from beginning to end.”
In October, Gore Vidal and Mailer reprise Don Juan in Hell, joined by Norris and Lennon, in a benefit for the Provincetown Theater. Vidal, as the Devil, steals the show, and Mailer says his old friend was “almost as good as Charles Laughton in the role.”
In December he caps a year of comment on the causes and effects of 9/11 with a long conversation on the topic with another old friend, Dotson Rader, published in the (London) Sunday Times Magazine.