Re: RARA-AVIS: Literary Types

From: Richard Moore (
Date: 25 Jul 2005

--- In, "Chris M" <cptpipes@h...> wrote:
> John asked:
> >someone please explain why Mailer is considered literature. I
find him
> >pretentious and unreadable. oh, did I just answer my own question?
> Most of Mailer's work I just don't have time for with all the other
> books out there. But The Executioner's Song is a masterpiece, and
Tough Guys
> is a fun read (or I at least thought it was when I read it for an
essay in
> high school).

I rather liked the early Mailer I read but slowly soured on him as his ego seemed to smother his talent. Many of his books were unreadable. It was with some reluctance I purchased THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG when it came out but my fascination with capital punishment won out over my distaste for Mailer. My first shock (and it was certainly more than "surprise") was the absence of the Mailer ego, which had dominated his books for years. The crisp and objective prose allowed the power of the story to take center stage and command the readers' attention. It's a wonderful book and one of the great reading experiences of my life. To me there is great irony that Mailer's "work for hire" outshines his ponderous attempts at literature.

Richard Moore

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