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No-good Norman

Norman Mailer is an egotistical has-been who became a celebrity too early in his career to write good novels

By Terry Teachout   October 1998

Why is norman Mailer still famous? He hasn’t written a good book since The Executioner’s Song, which is 19 years old. Except for The Naked and the Dead, none of his novels continues to be read, and his magazine journalism long ago curdled into self-parody. I have never met anyone under 40 who took him seriously. Yet Random House, which so far as I know is not a charitable institution, celebrated his 75th birthday by bringing out in the US a 1,200-page anthology of his writing, chosen by the master himself (in Britain it is published by Little, Brown). That’s…

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