Academic journal article The Mailer Review

A Note on "The Collision," Norman Mailer's First Short Story

Academic journal article The Mailer Review

A Note on "The Collision," Norman Mailer's First Short Story

Article excerpt

In the fall of 1932, the Mailer family--Barney and Fanny, and their children, Norman (who turned ten the following January), and Barbara (six in April)--moved from Flatbush, to another section of Brooklyn, Crown Heights, a middle-class Jewish neighborhood about a mile from Ebbets Field and Prospect Park. The Mailers remained there until the summer of 1943, when they moved to Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights. Working in his second-floor bedroom at 555 Crown Street during the winter of 1933-34, Mailer wrote his most important juvenile work, "The Martian Invasion," a 35,000-word science fiction novel which had one root in the Buck Rogers radio show, and a second in the Princess of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Barbara remembers her brother encouraging her to read this series, which she also gulped down.

But before composing the Martian novel, Mailer wrote his first real short story, "The Collison," about a hockey game between two undefeated high school teams. According to the date on a typescript of the story provided by Stephen Chipkin, Barbara and Norman's cousin, the story was written in January 1933. Mailer's parents mailed this copy to Barney's family in South Africa in that year, and it remained with them until a few months ago when Mr. Chipkin brought it to a family gathering at Barbara's home in New York.

During his Crown Heights years, Mailer went to some New York Rangers hockey games, (probably with Barney, who also took him to see the Dodgers), and it seems likely that he saw some high school games as well. …

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