Books by the Buddy System

Even if you keep in mind that Norman Mailer will turn 80 in January, you still pause when he puts a hearing aid behind each of those notable ears. "The body is like an old boat in stormy seas," he shrugs. "To stay afloat, you keep throwing ballast overboard. All the senses go--hearing, eyesight, smell."

Some things stay. The cartwheeling mind, the august manner--Mailer still has those. The cerebral tough guy who wrote The Armies of the Night and The Executioner's Song works daily on a long novel, though he won't say what it's about. He and his wife Norris Church...

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