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.
Books arrived daily by mail, FedEx, or by hand on the doorstep – a half-dozen was not unusual. At social functions, airports, readings, while he was walking to dinner along the waterfront of Provincetown, or riding the A Train to Manhattan from Brooklyn, people pressed books into his hands. Not that Norman Mailer was short of books; his library, at four different locations, amounted to more than 7,000 volumes. His last wife, Norris Church, referred to them as Kudzu, the pernicious creeping vine that covers large swathes of the American South. As fast as she gave them away, they reappeared on every flat surface in their two homes. Norman, she said, spent $1,000 a month on books, and received a large number gratis from writers in search of a recommendation.
As an editor-in-chief at two American publishing houses, Simon and Schuster and Alfred A. Knopf, from the mid-1960s through the late 80s, and as the Editor of the New Yorker from 1982–97, Robert Gottlieb has coddled and hectored more important American writers (and some British) than anyone since Maxwell Perkins dealt with the distinctions and deficiencies in the prose and egos of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, James Jones, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Thomas Wolfe.
Zero K, DeLillo’s sixteenth novel, is a probing examination of the ethics and techniques of cryonics – that is, the freezing of dead people (at present, cryopreservation can only take place after “legal death”).