My grandparent’s four-bedroom house at 44 Bark Street, in Fall River, Massachusetts, was slightly larger than the others in the neighborhood, but small by today’s standards. The porch, or piazza, as it was called, wrapped around two sides and made the house seem larger. The piazza was my coign of vantage to observe all movement on the street and in the yard. From the front, I waved to cousin Preston, who pushed his wagon up the hill while crying out, “Any raaags, any bones, any bottles.” I also met the mailman, who handed me letters from his leather bag with a smile. But when my grandmother’s friend, an old crone known as Peggy-with-the-Long-Tooth, came walking down the hill, I hid. She squeezed me hard and kissed me whenever she could, and I could feel her tooth against my cheek.
Today I received the first copy of Norman Mailer: A Double Life, which gave me a clear and present thrill. The bio came in at 947 pages—763 of text, the rest are devoted to notes, bibliography, index, and acknowledgements. The photos, 53 of them, are clear and well-presented. Most of them have not been seen before.
It will be in bookstores on October 15, and I am told that reviews of it should begin appearing around that time. Amazon has just reduced the price of the book to $24; the e-book version is $19.99.
Simon & Schuster publicity chief, Maureen Cole, just sent me the attached information sheet on the bio, and a brief Q and A. If you would like to review the book, or have questions about readings and appearances, she can be contacted at maureen.cole@simonandschuster.
Thanks to all of you who helped me on this project over the past seven years, and earlier. There is always a posse of supporters riding with biographers to round up the information needed for their books, and I am fortunate to have so many thoughtful friends and colleagues helping out.