AN AMERICAN DREAM by Norman Mailer

AN AMERICAN DREAM

KIRKUS REVIEW

The public death of Walter Mitty, alias Norman Mailer, (alias, wishfully speaking anyway, Jack Kennedy), represented by the concoction, recently serialized in Esquire, now hard-covered, bearing the title, An American Dream, bearing also the same relationship to An American Tragedy as spitballs might be said to bear to the atom bomb, is herewith reviewed. In the colloquial sense, of course, let it be stated there is no greater bomb than Dream (probably the least controversial statement of the year), which novel in its virtuoso inanity, its superlative suggestiveness, resembles, a. the unannounced second volume of Dwight MacDonald's Parodies, b. Ayn Rand discovering Freud, c. Mickey Spillane after reading Sade. The hero, Bogart re-fashioned like Paul Newman, is drenched by the Nouvelle Vague, a high-life burrower. He is also "professor of existential psychology with the not inconsiderable thesis that magic, dread, and the perception of death were the roots of motivation," as well as Genet-in-diapers insights ("...and I looked deeper into the eyes in the mirror as if they were keyholes... and asked myself, 'Am I now good? Am I evil forever'"). He murders his celebrity wife, runs through cat-and-mouse reels with the fuzz, bed-and-bounce deals with the broads, while his father-in-law, mysterious interlocutor of the Jet Set, CIA and the Mafia, closes in for the finale. A vaudeville liebestod, melange of eros, power and kitsch, signalizing the complete loss of control of its author. "Shakespearean fish swam the sea, far away from land;/ Romantic fish swam in nets coming to the hand;/ What are all those fish that lie gasping on the strand?," asked Yeats, who never read Norman Mailer.
Pub Date: March 15th, 1965
ISBN: 0375700706
Page count: 292pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1965




MORE BY NORMAN MAILER

NonfictionSELECTED LETTERS OF NORMAN MAILER by Norman Mailer
by Norman Mailer
FictionTHE CASTLE IN THE FOREST by Norman Mailer
by Norman Mailer

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionNORMAN MAILER by J. Michael Lennon
by J. Michael Lennon