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THE TIME OF OUR TIME by Norman Mailer


by Norman Mailer

Pub Date: May 6th, 1998
ISBN: 0-375-50097-9
Publisher: Random House

Anticipating his eventual biographers by identifying the themes that have animated his work, and apparently anxious to remind the current literary audience of some of the highlights in his massive body of work and lengthy career, Mailer has come up with a typically idiosyncratic version of an anthology. Essays, stories, and excerpts from his novels are arranged here not so much by subject matter as by the years the material covers, from the 1940s up to the 1990s (with detours to ancient Egypt and Palestine in the first years of the millennium). The year 1964, for instance, is represented by an excerpt from the novel An American Dream; 1966 by a portion of the novel Why Are We in Vietnam?; and 1967 and 1968 by work drawn from The Armies of the Night and Miami and the Siege of Chicago. This chronological ordering does serve to point out Mailer’s immersion in his times, and his often very prescient view of events. No other American novelist has been so actively, visibly involved in broad questions of American culture and politics. Taken as a whole, the anthology also reminds the reader of just how prolific, and original, Mailer has been. It’s size, too, points out Mailer’s unwillingness to end anything; the slender works of his youth and maturity have been replaced by some massive, and intermittently tedious, works of fiction. Still, this is a unique, and very useful, work, and certainly the best possible introduction to one of the most prodigious careers in modern American letters.