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The Time of Our Time Hardcover – May 5, 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Compiling an anthology of one's own work can be a tricky business. Norman Mailer, of course, first committed this act of literary cannibalism back in 1959, when he assembled a brilliant collage of stories, journalism, essays, and poetry, Advertisements for Myself . Now, 50 years after the publication of his first novel, Gore Vidal's favorite sparring partner has put together another, more massive anthology, advertising not only himself but what we might call (paraphrasing Frost) his lover's quarrel with American life. "Over the course of years," Mailer writes in his foreword, "most of us compose in the privacy of our minds a social and cultural history of the years through which we have passed." True enough. But Mailer's history of the American Imperium has always been public--extremely public--and in The Time of Our Time he attempts to get it all into a single book.

Surely this sense of himself as the republic's recording angel accounts for the structure of Mailer's anthology: rather than arranging the excerpts by date of composition, he groups them by the historical era they describe. His 1963 polemic about the Bay of Pigs, for example, appears alongside his cloak-and-dagger reconstruction of the same event from Harlot's Ghost (1991). Fiction and fact lie cheek-by-jowl and eventually become impossible to tell apart. Here is the fulfillment of a project that Mailer began decades ago with such cunning hybrids as Armies of the Night. Yet this enormous volume shouldn't be read merely as a hand-tooled work of history. It is also the record of a phenomenal literary career, documenting Mailer's initial triumphs, his adrenaline-infused masterpieces of the late 1960s, hyperbolic stinkers like Marilyn and Ancient Evenings, and the astringent sorrow and awe of The Executioner's Song, which marked his return to form in 1979 after a long fallow period. Who but this loudmouthed, elegant, shrewd, and invariably excessive author would claim that his time--i.e., his accounting of it--is essentially our time? And who else could even begin to make such a claim stick? The list is a short one indeed.

From Library Journal

How to sum up 50 years of writing? Mailer's 31 books since 1948?some great, some infuriating or silly, but none of them safe?have held him a consistently high place among postwar American writers; in between his novels, his charismatic accounts of political conventions, prize fights, demonstrations, and moon landings effected a sea-change in magazine journalism, launching a thousand self-referential copycats. No subject ever seemed outside Mailer's swaggering intelligence as he evolved from young war-novelist to Existential essayist riffing above the cultural storms. Mailer doesn't need to stake his claim as a novelist or social critic: This sprawling reader does both, following Mailer's two careers by presenting novel excerpts set chronologically and thematically among his most memorable nonfiction, right up to his account of the 1996 campaign. In another half-century, will he be remembered as a great novelist or a gifted man of letters who divided his talent? Readers who don't balk at this collection's heft (1279 pages) may decide for themselves. This compilation is an ego indulgence, but even Mailer's indulgences are lucid and surprising. Recommended, but not essential.?Nathan Ward, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House; 1st edition (May 5, 1998)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 1286 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0375500979
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0375500978
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.8 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.75 x 2.75 x 10 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

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Norman Kingsley Mailer (January 31, 1923 – November 10, 2007) was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film-maker, actor and political activist. His novel The Naked and the Dead was published in 1948. His best-known work was widely considered to be The Executioner's Song, which was published in 1979, and for which he won one of his two Pulitzer Prizes. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, his book Armies of the Night was awarded the National Book Award.

Along with Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, which uses the style and devices of literary fiction in fact-based journalism.

Mailer was also known for his essays, the most renowned of which was "The White Negro." He was a cultural commentator and critic, expressing his views through his novels, journalism, essays and frequent media appearances.

In 1955, Mailer and four others founded The Village Voice, an arts- and politics-oriented weekly newspaper distributed in Greenwich Village.

Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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4.2 out of 5 stars
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