Academic journal article The Mailer Review

The Mystery of Norman Mailer

Academic journal article The Mailer Review

The Mystery of Norman Mailer

Article excerpt

As AN AMATEUR PIANIST, I've always liked the story about Vladimir Horowitz, perhaps apocryphal, that when asked by someone how to get to the stage of Carnegie Hall, he said, "Practice, practice, practice." However, he didn't have it quite right. It turns out you can also get here by being related to Norman Mailer.

People sometimes ask me what it was like to be Norman's sister. Some of them are delighted and some dismayed when I say that, mostly, it was wonderful. He was loving and supportive, and he was certainly exciting to be with. Not only did he include me in much of what went on in his life, he always made me feel that he really liked having me around.

Since we had grown up in the same household with the same parents, he was in some ways just my brother. But as time went on, he began to evoke in me a strange mixture of familiarity and astonishment. Where, really, had he come from? I never bought into his belief in reincarnation, but I've often thought that he was his own best argument for it. Indeed, I think Ancient Evenings is his most autobiographical novel, although whether he was Rameses or Menenhetop, I really couldn't say. …

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