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Book Title: The Naked And The Dead|
The author of the book: Norman Mailer
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 34.36 MB
Edition: Flamingo Modern Classics
Date of issue: 1993
ISBN 13: 9780586091159
Read full description of the books The Naked And The Dead:Us readers have no homes, like unnoticed birds we perch anywhere, like the most disturbed stalkers we go through anybody’s underwear drawer, like vicious tax-gatherers we audit everyone, the writers especially, their creatures the characters very particularly, and hanging between all three of us, the book. It sits there in its cover. We ticket, we note, we award, with our eyes, brains and stars. We scribble in the margins to the outrage of future readers – well, I do, maybe you do not do that. (I never mind if someone has previously done that.)
So I have looked out of Humbert Humbert’s paedophiliac eyes, I overheard the good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ, I declined and fell with Paul Pennyfeather and I closely observed Molly Bloom in her bed for at least three hours, she didn’t notice a thing. It was like I wasn’t there. With Jeanette Winterson I too grew up in a crazy Christian cult, and like others before me I could not stop Merricat Blackwood from her pyromania whatever I did. Well, you could all say similar things. Our acceptance of the thousand varieties of human beingness is almost limitless. We are promiscuity itself.
The Naked and the Dead is not really about World War Two, or about war in general, it’s about looking through the eyes of men, a whole bunch of them, sleeping with them, eating with them, drinking, pissing and fighting with them. In this novel, the thing to have is a penis. The testosterone floweth through this novel as doth the Ganges through India. And… I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to go through all this painful stuff with a bunch of assorted blokes constantly eating, farting, sleeping, waking, yakking, being blown up or not, writing letters, bragging, playing poker, theorising banally about women and on. And on.
Because there are a thousand characters, Mailer provides each with a description round the time they are introduced. Such as:
He was a little over medium height, well fleshed, with a rather handsome sun-tanned face and graying hair. His expression when he smiled was very close to the ruddy, complacent and hard appearance of any number of American senators and businessmen, but the tough good-guy aura never quite remained. There was a certain vacancy in his face, like the vacancy of actors who play American congressmen.
Well, after several descriptions like this everything blurs together and you realise why Catch-22 works so well because in that war novel everyone is a cartoon, no painful attempt at ultra-realistic detail at all, so Milo Minderbinder, Major Major, Colonel Korn and the rest remain intact in the memory years later.
But really, me trying to read N&D was doomed to failure. It could have been a good one, I guess, you never know until you try, heck I’ve liked some funny things in my time. But the signs were not good :
1) I am ferociously biased against novels written by 24 year olds and any novels written by anyone under 30. (Writing novels is like the opposite of pop music). Evelyn Waugh has squeaked by (Decline and Fall) and I guess you have to give Mary Shelley the nod too, then there’s Dickens of course….ok, ok, MOSTLY I don’t think people under 30 can write a good novel. Norman Mailer is no Mary Shelley, and he would have been the first to admit that.
2) I hate war stories – Hamburger Hill, Platoon, From Here to Eternity, I avoid them all. I did watch Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line and like, that’s enough.
3) I thought I should read this because I was reading Norman Mailer’s biography which is VERY ENTERTAINING but I just always wanted to be finding out what happened to NORMAN next not the boys in the jungles of Anopopei.
I can tell this is really a heck of an accomplishment, he commands his material fearlessly, ther’s no holding back, he’s a right know-it-all, and somebody needed to do a big honest novel about men in WW2 which could be set beside the big thumpers from WW1 (there won’t be any great novels coming out of WW3).
So, for me this was a 2 star experience from a 4 star novel, abandoned a little shamefacedly but with relief.
Read information about the authorNorman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.
Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, but which covers the essay to the nonfiction novel. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once. In 1955, Mailer, together with Ed Fancher and Dan Wolf, first published The Village Voice, which began as an arts- and politics-oriented weekly newspaper initially distributed in Greenwich Village. In 2005, he won the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from The National Book Foundation.
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