The Guardian Reviews Letters

Lennon’s role as custodian of Mailer’s literary estate may seem redundant: after all, acting as his own curator was part of Mailer’s addiction to self‑dramatisation. Commencing with the taming and recontextualisation of the juvenilia and marginalia in 1959’s Advertisements for Myself, he was determined to frame his own works and set the parameters within which they were to be considered. However, his executor’s pruning proves indispensable: having given himself over to the fanatical labour of making a selection from more than 45,000 letters, Lennon presents us with 716 key missives, dating from 1940 to Mailer’s death in 2007.

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