Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trailer Park Tuesday: Norman Mailer: A Double Life by J. Michael Lennon

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

This has been a season of big, juicy biographies of writers. We're getting the lowdown on Salinger and Roth, and now we get a 900-page exploration of Norman Mailer's life.  Thanks to J. Michael Lennon, we see the pugnacious pontificator in all his glory and warts.  The trailer is little more than clips from an interview with Lennon.  So if you don't like two minutes of talking-head chatter, then you might get restless.  But geez louise, it's fuggin' Mailer we're talking about here.  As a subject matter, he's anything but boring.  Click here for another, longer, trailer about Norman Mailer: A Double Life.  I'm intrigued by Lennon's biography and can't wait to read more about one of the most fascinating writers of the 20th century.  As he notes in the video, Lennon had access to Mailer's letters, unpublished manuscripts, and many family members who had not been interviewed in the past.  "He knew I was going to write the biography," Lennon says.  "He said, 'Put everything in.'"  At nearly 1,000 pages (a length Mailer would have approved of, I'm sure), it certainly seems like the kitchen-sink treatment.  I like this early praise for the book from Graydon Carter at The New York Times: ""[A] sweeping full-scale biography....There’s not a paragraph in this enormous book that doesn’t contain a nugget of something you should have known or wish you had known.  Lennon has it all, and he has it down.  And despite being his subject’s literary executor, he has not sanded the corners of a career and life, each of which has plenty of texture and lots of sharp edges."

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