The Weekend Update Is Neither Naked Nor Dead

With so many tributes and voices of dissent about Norman Mailer, it makes me wonder the following: could it be that Mailer’s appeal is limited to his generation and the next (aka the Boomers) and by and large those younger don’t really relate? Could it be that his depiction of manhood doesn’t work because it rings somewhat false? Or is the fact that reactions are so polarized mean that he will, in fact, be remembered? (Though 50 years from now, I’d say more people will read Kurt Vonnegut, who died just a few months ago, than Stormin’ Norman.)

And also, why is it that every clip I’ve heard of Mailer makes him sound like he has a vague Irish accent? I don’t get it.

NYTBR: Michiko Kakutani remembers Norman Mailer, and confirms at least in my mind that most of her blisteringly negative reviews of his work stemmed from personal disappointment; Liesl Schillinger pinpoints all the problems I had with Peter Hoeg’s rather frustrating literary thriller THE QUIET GIRL; and good christ, can Jay McInerney get any more fatuous?

WaPo Book World: Carolyn See learns her lesson about family from Joe McGinniss’s latest true crime novel; a new biography of Bette Davis gets Charles Matthews’ attention; and another of Ethel Merman implores Jonathan Yardley to indulge his fannish self.

LA Times: Christopher Sorrentino delves into Steve Erickson’s latest depiction of Hollywood; Susan Salter Reynolds is entertained and unnerved by THE QUIET GIRL; and David Ulin tries to make sense of Norman Mailer’s inherent contradictions.

G&M: Peter Behrens remembers the fallen heroes of Flanders Fields and beyond; Mary Ann Caws considers the latest volume in John Richardson’s Picasso biography; Martin Levin ponders over which writers may be forgotten soon; and Sally Cooper appreciates the perspective Eric Wright brings to his story about modern Canadian Brits.

Guardian Review: Carrie O’Grady wishes Gilbert Adair didn’t have to be so post-modern in his Agatha Christie tribute; what the hell, Mary Gaitskill’s VERONICA is only out now in the UK? and from Serpent’s Tail? Damn; and Laura Wilson reviews new crime books by Robert Lewis, Benjamin Black and John Mortimer, as well as Otto Penzler’s latest anthology.

Observer: After reading two short story collections edited by Richard Ford and Zadie Smith, Alex Clark declares the form isn’t dead yet; Peter Preston approves of a new biography of Cecil B. DeMille; and Frank McCourt tells Stephanie Merritt why he’s moved into the fairy tale realm.

The Times: Jonathan Myerson revisits DOCTOR ZHIVAGO 50 years later; a doctor’s death becomes the impetus for a strange investigation along the lines of Sherlock Holmes; and oh man, Nana Moskouri has a memoir out. I shouldn’t be surprised but clearly I am…

The Scotsman: Brian Wilson tries to make sense of Fidel Castro’s “autobiography”; Jane Gardam’s new short story collection gets scrutinized by the paper’s book club; and Lee Randall sees a hint of promise in Sophie Dahl’s debut novel.

The Rest:

The Worcester Star-Telegram had a preview of New England Crime Bake, which took place over the weekend.

Oline Cogdill offers a two-fer in one column, reviewing new mysteries by James Swain and Jonathan Hayes.

Adam Woog’s crime fiction column for the Seattle Times features his thoughts on books by Robert Harris, Sharon Rowse, Gary McKinney, Kevin Wignall, Cricket McRae and Anne Perry.

Marx Swarnholm devotes his mystery column at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to Nordic noir books by Yrsa Sigudardottir, Arnaldur Indridason and Peter Hoeg.

At the Telegraph, Jake Kerridge reviews crime fiction by Ian Rankin, Gianrico Carofiglio, Andrew Holmes and Diane Wei Liang.

Crain’s has a nice piece on the Outfit, the group blog by some of Chicago’s finest crime writers.

Karen Olson tells the Connecticut Post why her latest Annie Seymour mystery, DEAD OF THE DAY, was the easiest one to write thus far.

Charles Ardai pinpoints the problems with Judith Freeman’s examination of Raymond and Cissy Chandler’s relationship – namely that there’s too much conjecture and not enough facts.

Arturo Perez-Reverte reveals to the Telegraph why he’s made war his newest novelistic subject.

The pseudonymous Jiang Rong has won the first ever Asian Man Booker Prize.

And finally, several people have asked why I don’t write for the paper of my birthplace, and I offer this piece as explanation. All that space, wasted.