Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Bad Year for Great American Writers

In April it was Kurt Vonnegut. Less than two weeks later it was David Halberstam. Today it is Norman Mailer.

Of these three great American writers who passed away this year, Mailer was probably the one who evoked the most emotions from people as he was anything but politically correct. Yet he enjoyed politics and he had many endearing traits, as did Halberstam and Vonnegut. I believe Halberstam was the greatest non-fiction writer of the second-half of the twentieth century. Just before he died, Vonnegut was perhaps the greatest living novelist.

Mailer, on the hand, doesn’t quite fit into any single category. He wrote newspaper and magazine stories, screenplays, non-fiction books, and was a film director, too. It was his ambition that I most admire. Of the 30 books he wrote, 12 were fiction and 18 were non-fiction. I never read any of his fiction. I did read The Fight, Mailer’s account of the “Rumble in Jungle,” when Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in Zaire for the heavyweight title. Though he was a great observer and extremely intelligent, Mailer liked to be involved in the action. He enjoyed boxing, arguing, and marched with the Vietnam protestors in Washington, D.C. He ran for mayor of New York. He also, drank, smoke, and almost fatally stabbed his second wife after drinking too much at a party. He married six times and had nine children. Despite all this, he was a disciplined writer. And though he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, he never did write the great American novel he so desperately wanted to. Nevertheless, Mailer died today, joining Vonnegut and Halberstam. And while all three were intellectuals of note, it was Mailer’s passion for life that I most admire. For interviewing people and sitting at your desk and writing is only one aspect of living. Mailer embraced so many other aspects as well, even if many didn’t approve. But he didn’t care. He liked himself. No, he loved himself, sometimes to the point of narcissism. One of his most famous magazine stories was titled, “Ego.” But it was his confidence and passion that made him the superb writer he was, and more importantly, the great man he was.

3 comments:

Qing Cai said...

fitflop
air max 90
ray ban sunglasses
ugg boots clearance,ugg australia,uggs on sale,ugg slippers,uggs boots,uggs outlet,ugg boots,ugg,uggs
replica handbags,replica handbags outlet,cheap handbags,purses and handbags,wholesale replica handbags,replica bags,bags outlet,replica handbags wholesale,cheap purses,discount handbags,handbags sale,wholesale purses,handbags and purses,replica purses
mcm bags
true religion outlet, http://www.truereligionjeansoutlet.com
gucci, http://www.borseguccioutlet.it/
cheap mlb jerseys
stuart weitzman boots
kobe shoes
kobe 9
hollister canada, http://www.hollistercanada.com
hermes outlet
lululemon outlet
ed hardy t-shirts
salvatore ferragamo
marc jacobs
true religion jeans, http://www.truereligionjeanscanada.com
links of london uk
gucci shoes
michael kors factory outlet, http://www.michaelkorsfactoryoutlets.in.net/
ralph lauren outlet
polo ralph lauren outlet
canada goose outlet
boston celtics jersey
cheap nike shoes
tory burch shoes
real madrid jersey
oakley sunglasses
cai2015902

mmjiaxin said...

cheap oakley sunglasses
beats by dre
longchamp handbags outlet
ray-ban sunglasses
nike running shoes
air jordan shoes for sale
michael kors handbags clearance
air max shoes
tiffany and co
snow boots
michael kors uk
michael kors uk outlet
hermes outlet
swarovski outlet
ugg boots
mbt shoes outlet
tory burch outlet online
louis vuitton handbags outlet
babyliss flat iron
adidas wings shoes
mm1106

amany said...


ارخص شركة نقل عفش من الدمام الى الاردن شركة شحن عفش من الدمام الى الاردن
ارخص شركة نقل عفش من المدينة المنورة الى جدة شركة نقل عفش من المدينةالى جدة
ارخص شركة نقل عفش من المدينة المنورة الى مكة ارخص شركة نقل عفش من المدينة المنورة الى مكة
ارخص شركة نقل عفش من المدينة الى ينبع ارخص شركة نقل عفش من المدينة الى ينبع