The Book Reviewer's Song

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Photo: VanityFair.com


In all the brouhaha over Christopher Hitchens's paean to poop jokes in the new Vanity Fair, you might have missed the Proust Questionnaire with literary warhorse Norman Mailer. The venerable writer-cum-political agitator dishes on his hatred for Reagan, Bush, Hitler, and — oh, yeah — Pulitzer-winning Times book critic Michiko Kakutani:

What is your greatest fear?

That I will never meet Michiko Kakutani and so not be able to tell her what I think of her. She has an unseemly haste to rush into print with the first very bad review of any book I write. She does this ahead of publication. That is a strategy. If the first review of a book is dreadful, an author needs at least three good ones to change that first impression.

Hitler, in comparison, gets off easy. Not that we're surprised: We hear he thought pretty highly of The Naked and the Dead.

Proust Questionnaire: Normal Mailer [VF]