Friday, April 13, 2007

25. "The Naked and the Dead" ~ Norman Mailer

Warning: gushing and effluent praise ahead.

I never thought that I'd find a book that touched me as much as To Kill a Mockingbird. That book encompasses so much to me, but to simplify - the pain of humanity as backdrop to the tiny, aching bits of beauty that passes through our lives.

I'll say it now: Norman Mailer is on my most-admired list. He went to war, he served in several stations, he survived, then he wrote this book at the age of 25. What did you do when you were 25. Jesus Christo.

And it's beautiful. Mailer captures the personalities of a platoon of reconnaissance soldiers with the intuitiveness of someone who is not 25. He shows their lives through flashbacks, written as one-act plays or monologues or a simple story. Their mission - to recon and take over an island under Japanese control - is not glorified. In fact, it's about as anti-war as can be imagined for that time. Plus, Mailer writes about the Japanese soldiers, left to starve while keeping the island secure, their diaries reflecting their fear, their hatred of war.

Part of the reason why it has taken me so long to post? I read it twice. Amazing work.

4.95 out 5.0 Great Caesar's Martinis.

Banned Book: The use of the word "fuggin'" rather than "fuckin'" did little to sway book abolitionists. Sexual innuendos. War. Shit.
NOTE: Thanks for the emails telling me that I had the wrong cover. Getting 20+ notices was flattering, in a "you like me, you really like me" kind of way. I thought that people stopped reading after Shylah took over the blog.


Joy said...

Twice!?! I have never read anything by Mailer. This has me curious. Thanks.

Bibliolatrist said...

I second Joy's statements. I'll be adding this one to my "to read" list. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Twice... the first time as a reader. The second time, as a writer. How did he make the characters so believable? What special literary dancing worked?

It's not a short book, either. I hope you both enjoy it half as much as I did.

Kristin Dodge said...

That was me.

Gina Marie said...

BookMooch people. It's a book lovers paradise. Well, except that you have to be willing to sacrafice a few. I'm enjoying the banned books, Kristin. Thanks for going with this theme.

Kristin Dodge said...

GM... you have won rockstar status. I'm going to be the biggest mooch.

Still, I adore my local library. They are supportive of my endeavors... and readers of this blog. *Waves*.

Diana Raabe said...

Because you've put this in the same category as Eng's "The Gift of Rain" it must be worth reading for me. Thanks for the recommendation.