Barbary Shore: A Novel
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Published at the height of the McCarthy era, Norman Mailer’s audacious novel of socialism is at once an elegy and an indictment, a sinuous moral thriller and an intellectual slugfest. Wounded during World War II, Mike Lovett is an amnesiac, and much of his past is a secret to himself. But when Lovett rents a room in Brooklyn, he finds that his housemates have secrets of their own: One betrays a husband no one ever sees; another may have been a Communist executioner. Combining Kafkaesque unease with Orwellian paranoia, Barbary Shore plays havoc with our certainties and delivers its effects with a force that is pure Mailer.
Praise for Barbary Shore
“A work of remarkable power, of amazing penetration, both into people and the determining forces of American life.”—The Atlantic Monthly
“Vibrant with life, abundant with real people . . . [Mailer has] a scintillating skill in observation, a mature sense of meaning.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“This book is nothing short of amazing.”—Newsweek
“Barbary Shore [is] about the kind of country—and what you might call the psychic territory—that American war heroes were returning to.”—The Guardian
Praise for Norman Mailer
“[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times
“A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker
“Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post
“A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life
“Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books
“The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune
“Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post
or two, and I must explain it to you. The details, the conditions, and the characteristics you can work out at leisure if you have any.” When he was done he looked sternly across the table and said, the pedagogue again, “As Lenin said to the priest Gapon, ‘Study, little father, or you will lose your head.’ You hear, Lovett?” I nodded. “All right. Then I’ll be going down.” “I’ll go with you,” I said. McLeod was on his feet. “Oh, no. No, no. You don’t ruin it now.” He was suddenly furious.
present.” And while McLeod subjected it to his scrutiny, Hollingsworth sat back and in unconscious satisfaction patted the clasp of the brief case as though it were Pandoras box and all of his needs could be furnished there. “All right,” McLeod said, “I wrote that article.” “And the others?” I leaned forward to hear his answer, my heart beating with surprising rapidity. “Wrote all of them,” McLeod said, and elation I could hardly repress leaped up in me. Forgetting myself I turned to Lannie.
now?” “You want me to answer?” “I’ll go on, thank you. He feels very bad we can suppose. Here are all those terrible things he’s done, and how can he change all that? Well, first of all he goes to work for the people I represent, and that doesn’t pan out so well, now does it? He feels even worse, and so he has to take something to make up for it, and that he does, and then here he is now.” “Except for his theoretical work.” “Yes, I’m so glad you mentioned that. Except for his theoretical
never a way to determine if I knew a country or merely remembered another’s description. The legends from a decade of newsprint were as intimate and distant as the places in which I must have lived. No history belonged to me and so all history was mine. Yet in what a state. Each time my mind furnished a memory long suppressed it was only another piece, and there were so few pieces and so much puzzle. During one period I made prodigious efforts to recover the past. I conducted a massive
and I think it is reasonable to assert that if either of the two powers is unable to solve its economic problems without going to war, it must follow that war will come. But what if both of the Colossi suffer such contradictions? A fortiori, the inevitability of war receives its double guarantee. “Proper analysis must be virtually exhaustive. I have been reminded that my time is not without limit and so I will confine my remarks to assertions. The situation of the bloc which may be called