Mike’s memoir Mailer’s Last Days: New and Selected Remembrances of a Life in Literature is now available as an audiobook through Audible.
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Mike and John Buffalo Mailer are interviewed in the latest episode of the Open Source podcast “Norman Mailer Turns 100.”
We are summoning Norman Mailer in his hundredth-birthday season, what could be his revival time, to tell us what happened to his country and ours. Mailer lived and wrote it all: 40 books of eagle-eyed fact and fiction. First as a soldier in the Philippines, in the 1940s; then: epic poet of the Sixties in America; eventually as a celebrity and popular artist of Duke Ellington or Frank Sinatra proportions.
Listen to the full episode on their site.
Published in time for Mailer’s birthday, Ronald Fried has interviewed J. Michael Lennon about his latest memoir Mailer’s Last Days: New and Selected Remembrances of a Life in Literature, Lennon’s relationship with Mailer, and American literature in general. Fried writes:
At the age of 80, Lennon has lived long enough to see how writers’ reputations change over the decades. Since his death in 2007, Mailer’s reputation is still undergoing a transformation. To writers of my generation, Mailer was like a member of the family, in the good and the bad sense: omnipresent, sometimes disappointing, sometimes appalling, often brilliant, always calling attention to himself, and impossible to ignore. But to many younger literary types, Mailer is close to anathema, for his trafficking in misogynistic and racial stereotypes and the near-fatal stabbing of his wife Adele Morales, among other reasons. I talked with Lennon about his relationship with Mailer, Mailer’s contemporaries, and the challenges he faced as an academic and critic writing a highly personal memoir.
Interviewed by Vicki Mayk
J. Michael Lennon’s literary identity has been intertwined with that of legendary writer Norman Mailer for more than a half century. As the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer’s authorized biographer and archivist, Lennon has written more about Mailer than anyone. The author of the biography Norman Mailer: A Double Life, published by Simon & Schuster in 2013, Lennon’s writing also has included essays, interviews, and literary criticism about many of Mailer’s contemporaries. In his new book, Mailer’s Last Days: New and Selected Remembrances of a Literary Life,Lennon makes his first foray into memoir.
Lennon is no stranger to the genre: As the co-founder of the Maslow Family Graduate Creative Writing Program at Wilkes University, where he is professor emeritus of English, Lennon has mentored many students writing memoir for their creative thesis. His new book marks the first time he has written his own memoir, tackling a braided form that includes examining the two fathers in his life – his biological father and Norman Mailer, who became another father figure during their long relationship.
The Times Literary Supplement has published an excerpt from Norman Mailer’s Lipton’s Journal, edited by J. Michael Lennon, Gerald R. Lucas, and Susan Mailer: “Saint and Psychopath.” The entirety of Lipton’s will be published by what would have been Norman Mailer’s 100th birthday on January 31, 2023.