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Norman Mailer: A Double Life

A new biography of Norman Mailer misses the mark

By Alexis Forss   December 2013

Never one to follow Orwell’s dictum that the best books are the ones that tell us what we already know, Norman Mailer spent his career repeatedly charging over well-trodden ground, always galvanised by a belief in the acuity, uniqueness and urgency of his perceptions. JFK, Vietnam, Iraq, Hitler, Picasso, feminism, Monroe and Christ would all have their secondary reading lists expanded to the tune of at least one work by the man who, by the mid-1990s, needed every penny of his $750,000 annual income to meet his alimony, child-support, mortgages,…

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