I don't really know whether to write this piece about Norman Mailer, or Norris Church Mailer, or James Walcott, who wrote this impressive piece for Vanity Fair called "The Norman Conquest." It's a little odd that I find this piece so entertaining, since I've never read any Norman Mailer (please leave suggestions and advice as to what I should do about this in the comments). However, Walcott's piece is pretty much one of the most whimsically well-written bon-bons of literary reportage that I've read in a while.
Really what I'd like to read is Norris' memoir, A Ticket to the Circus. She was married to the dude for thirty years. In a piece in the NYT a few weeks ago, she claimed that sex was the glue (no, the honey, she corrected herself) that held them together through his insatiable philandering. I don't know whether to respect Norris or hate her. Was Mailer really a genius? You'd have to be pretty great in the sack and a genius and really love your children for a woman as beautiful (and smart) as Norris to stick by you, right?
Walcott's piece was born as a comment to all of the Mailer paraphenalia coming out of the woodwork the past few months. His cook/assistant has written Mornings with Mailer, then there's Norris' memoir, and a mistress memoir by Carole Mallory barfingly titled Loving Mailer. (The jacket! THE JACKET OF THIS BOOK). If you're stuck trying to chose, New York Magazine has this very handy dandy breakdown of the memoirs of Mailer's women.
Wow. I hope when I die there are people vying to tell about my literary legacy. I guess I had better start stabbing people at parties.