In an interview earlier this year, Norman Mailer was asked about the contemporary writers he most admired. There were only a few novelists, the old egoist replied, who were truly ambitious, excluding himself naturally: Martin Amis, Thomas Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy.
As surprising to me as the omission of Philip Roth from this list (though this being Mailer, it is probably not so surprising that he would not privilege a fellow Jewish-American) was the inclusion of Cormac McCarthy. It was a long time since I had read McCarthy, and when, in idle moments, I thought of the writers whose new novels…
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