Prolific, outspoken novelist Norman Mailer passed away this morning at Mount Sinai hospital, where he'd been admitted several weeks ago with respiratory problems.
A true New York character, both colorful and controversial, Mailer co-founded The Village Voice, penned over 30 books, directed four movies, won two Pulitzer Prizes, and tossed at least one drink at Gore Vidal. A fascinating man with an ego to match, Mailer was nothing if not captivating, and the world of letters won't be the same without his bluff and bravado.
Earlier:The Rise of Mailerism [NYM]
Father to Son: What I've Learned About Rage [NYM]
God, are literary feuds lame lately — even, or especially, fake ones. Watch, for example, today's Daily News try to imply there's some beef afoot between Bret Easton Ellis and mentee Jeff Hobbs. What happened? Ellis didn't show up to the book party (at the Box, natch) for Hobbs's novel, The Tourists, about misbehaving Yale grads. The third paragraph casually mentions that Ellis lives in L.A., and the best evidence Rush and Molloy can dig up on the rift is that Ellis and Hobbs haven't seen talked in "three or four weeks." Say it ain't so! If they're determined to find a fight, we suggest they pick up on Ellis's quote in which he says Hobbs "has a lot of interesting things to say about that generation's fluidity about sexuality," and then plainly, just this side of legally, allege Ellis's own "fluidity" with Hobbs: Why else would he even be expected to fly cross-country to the Box in the first place? Then, suddenly, the news item's joke about "the well-endowed (um, with literary talent) Ellis" doesn't, um, dangle.
Odds of a Rift Between Ellis and Protege: Less Than Zero [NYDN]
There was an everydaughter-size elephant in the auditorium last night as old friends Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker, in conversation at the 92nd Street Y, talked about almost everything — meditation, California, Rwanda, George Bush (he's bad!), peaches (mean freedom!), and mothers (complicated!). But they did not talk about Walker's daughter, Rebecca, the feminist writer — and also Steinem’s goddaughter — who revealed in her recent book, Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence that she is estranged from her Pulitzer-winning parent. (Okay, maybe it wasn't entirely surprising: In Rebecca's earlier book, Black, White and Jewish, she wrote about feeling emotionally neglected as a child.) “I am always happy to talk about my mother,” said Walker at the discussion. “My mother was a big woman, a strong woman, a beautiful woman, a woman who could not be beaten.” But there wasn't a word on being a mother herself — not that there weren't opportunities.
The publishing blog Galleycat reports that the Times Magazine's "Funny Pages" will feature a tale by Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Michael Chabon as its fifth serialized contribution. (Previous contributors were Elmore Leonard, Patricia Cornwell, Scott Turow, and Michael Connelly.) Galleycat gets the gist of the story from the announcement — it's "an adventure yarn set in the tenth-century kingdom of Arran, which the Times press release helpfully notes was 'in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian seas'" — and follows up with an e-mail to Chabon, asking about his inspirations for the project. "Well, the novel carries a dedication to Michael Moorcock," Chabon replies, mentioning "his stories of Elric and other ironic sword-wielding heroes." And, well, of course he does. For Chabon, isn't it always about acknowledgements and, um, swords?
Michael Chabon Prepares Swashbuckler for NYT [Galleycat/MB]
Earlier: Michael Chabon, Defender of the Acknowledgement