Friday, October 19, 2007

The Book of Norman

This was a little out of my comfort zone, but in today's Rocky Mountain News, you can find my take on Norman Mailer's very suddenly released book, On God. Subtitled "An Uncommon Conversation," the book features conversations about faith, God and the Devil himself between Mr. Mailer and Michael Lennon, the author's 'literary executor" (and I have no clue what function that means).

While I think the review is fair, I'll be the first to admit that it's something of a softball pitch and probably far from the critical drubbing he'll get from, say, the Times. After all, Norman has never been the least contentious writer in the world and once called its most prominent book critic, "a one-woman kamikaze."

That said, asking me to give my full attention a book about religion is like being asked to choose between two doors marked "things you don't care about," and "more." The book is, as indicated above, the gnostic-leaning contemplations of Mailer, left to his own devices out there on the end of Cape Cod, staring at the sea. A personal cosmology, if you will, no twist.

For a different approach, you can also check out David Ulin's take at the L.A. Times. "God, however, is a more amorphous concept, and Mailer's inability to deal with that condemns 'On God' to failure by closing the book to the vagaries of faith."

The guy's under the weather, too, I'm sorry to report.

In other news, there's a new interview with Richard Lange over at Things I'd Rather Be Doing.

By way of Neil Gaiman, I've spent the morning memorizing Carny Lingo.

I'm also engaged in memorializing World War II flying ace Tex Hill, who passed away last week.

And to kick off your weekend, here's a website dedicated to the photos and videos of iconoclast Allison Jackson. Jackson, you'll recall, is the British photographer who uses celebrity lookalikes to create some very disturbing fake images of celebs at their worst moments. It's kind of like US magazine, only with satiric and artistic value. Not, as they say, safe for work.

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