ON OSWALD'S TRAIL

AT THE AGE OF 72, NORMAN MAILER STILL ROCKS BACK and forth on the balls of his feet when he talks. He still leaves the impression of a compact nuclear device as drawn by Herblock--shaking slightly on its launch pad, Yoda-shaped and oracular, although somewhat mellowed by the years. He is capable now of an occasional shrug that says, "Who knows?"

Mailer admirably settled in years ago for the literary long haul. Whatever momentary noise he made as the Tasmanian devil of American letters (when he would go dervishing through the culture, talking tough, chewing the furniture), his 27 books have...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!