Norman Mailer, himself a more memorable character than any of his fictional creations, has died
in New York City at the age of 84.
Mailer popular first novel, The Naked and the Dead
, was based on his experiences as a soldier on the Pacific front in World War II. A wild future lay ahead for the professional contrarian, who would go on to co-found the Village Voice, run for Mayor of New York City, stab his wife at a party
, advocate for the parole of serial murderers with writing talent
, and abandon the airy spheres of pure fiction to explore the lives of real life psychopaths like Gary Gilmore and Adolph Hitler
in artful prose.
Here is Norman Mailer in a filmed fist-fight
(a posture that suited him well) in 1970.
UPDATE: some nice words for Norman from Garth Risk Hallberg
and Mark Sarvas