Applying dynamite

to feet of clay: John Leonard (Andrew’s dad) “takes down”: Norman Mailer in the _New York Review of Books_:

bq. But his footwork is fanciest when he gets to style. _Why Are We in Vietnam?_ does not seem to have been written by the author of _Ancient Evenings_. There is clearly a Mailer vocabulary, with adjectives like brave, corrupt, existential, inauthentic, primitive, and vertiginous to modify nouns like angel, aura, blood, cancer, cloaca, death, devil, dread, evil, fame, fetish, fever, grace, guilt, gut, hysteria, imperative, lividity, lust, magic, miasma, ontology, orgasm, ovaries, plastic, swine, taboo, underworld, virus, and void. It is the vocabulary of a shaman, and comes with its own drum. But it’s not a style. From so much skinwalking, shape-shifting, and baying at phases of far-flung moons, such wayward torque, and all those cantilevered paragraphs gasping for vertical support, you get, instead of a style, the bends.

This entry was posted in Literature. Bookmark the permalink.