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Ancient Evenings: A Novel Paperback – February 18, 2014
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“Astounding, beautifully written . . . a leap of imagination that crosses three millennia to Pharaonic Egypt.”—USA Today
“Mailer makes a miraculous present out of age-deep memories, bringing to life the rhythms, the images, the sensuousness of a lost time.”—The New York Times
“Mailer’s Egypt is a haunting and magical place. . . . The reader wallows in the scope, depth, the sheer magnitude and—yes—the fertility of his imagination.”—The Washington Post Book World
“An enormous pyramid of a novel [reminiscent of] Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and Carlos Fuentes’s Terra Nostra.”—Los Angeles Herald Examiner
Praise for Norman Mailer
“[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times
“A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker
“Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post
“A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life
“Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books
“The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune
“Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a weird book to say the least and not like anything I've read (mostly classics, sci-fi and scientific) however it was thoroughly fascinating at the same time. It didn't matter what was going on in the story: the writing was powerful, the thoughts and images of the story clearly conveyed in writing. Very few books can put a picture in your head like this one can.
While the sexual exploits were certainly entertaining (and quite humorous at times) they - like everything in the book - happened for a reason, illustrating the power struggles and state of the mind quite lucidly as the characters interacted with each other.
This book isn't for everyone, but those able to read it cover to cover will think about the book and characters long after finishing it - the mark of any good book as far as I'm concerned.
This description,fiery and mystical, sets the stage for the level of tales to follow. As one reads about the many exploits of Menenhetet, one begins to reflect on ones' own life experiences: the ups and downs, the power ploys, the sexual exploits(of which there are many and varied), and at last both the finality and continuity of life. The descriptions of place such as the palace of Thebes, the Gardens of the little queens (the harem), the battle at Kaddesh, the royal barge, the city of Tyre are all told with stunning clarity and immediacy. Another review described the homosexual scenes between men; there are also some such scenes between the little queens, but all these scenes, including the many heterosexual ones are described with a sensitivity and a focus on power in relationships rarely written about in most modern novels. At least that has been my experience. Finally, the way Mailer writes about the thoughts of the different characters and the way they drift in and out of each others minds made me believe in the ability of a person today to experience transcendent thought. I read the book over six years ago and I am still impressed with its' power over my consiousness.
Mailer seeminngly captures Egypt during a period that could be easily considered antithetically decadent to its many periods of great glory like the First Dynasty's uniting of the "The Two Lands," the Pyramid Age, the 12th Dynasty or the famous 18th, with Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and King Tut. Or, heartbreakingly enough for romantic Egyptophiles like myself, he could be capturing how everyday Egypt, underneath the pomp and circumstance of the persepective of an Egyptologist or the Kingly/Pharonic court ritual (much like Rome millenia later) actually was.
Mailer has always been accused of personalizing himself too much in his work, and the evidence of twentieth century left-of-center White American bohemian life and culture, as well as its self-projected/narcississtic perspective on ancient Egyptian culture, does at times bleed through. African people South of Egypt are referred to in the novel as Negroes or Blacks.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
in the review, itsd a minor point, but his wife was NEFERTIRI not NefertitiPublished 6 months ago by Sharon Mullins
Imaginative, daring, evocative, and thought provoking.
This book takes one an adventure through many lives in the mythical past of Ancient Egypt. Read more
This book made such a powerful impression on me when I read it. I've never read anything like it since - even from Mailer. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Cort Johnson
One of my favorite novels, this Mailer offering kept me engaged from start to finish. I will enjoy reading it again and again.Published 17 months ago by Cookie
Sorry Norman, I just tired of wading through it - finally put it away when I couldn't page fast enough on my Kindle.Published 21 months ago by R. Martin
Written in language and tongues difficult to understand, I finally gave up after reading 50 pages. A very tedious book.Published 21 months ago by Ted Beneigh
I'm reading this in preparation to see Matthew Barney's film based on Mailer's book. If you ever wondered what it feels like to be an dead ancient Egyptian going through the... Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by the eternal answering machine
Maybe it was the author's name, but I expected more of this book. It opens with a confusing story of Egyptian gods and goddesses with multiple names and stories. Read morePublished on July 28, 2013 by Mark Suplinskas