Norman Mailer, Whose Sorrow Lay Its Protection Over Him Like a Shawl on the Bones of an Arthritic
January 26, 2010 1 Comment
In our last installment of “Prisoner of Sex,” Mailer (played by Psycho-Pirate sans black leather jacket) was “attuning” to his secretary and the media to see if he’d get the Nobel Prize.
He doesn’t get the Nobel Prize, which he never wanted anyway, and starts thinking of himself not as the Famous Nobel Prize Winner but as “the Prizewinner” or the “Prisoner of Wedlock” or just “the Prisoner.” (You see where this is headed? ‘Cuz prizewinner sounds like prisoner, see?) His fourth marriage having ended, he goes to Maine with five of his children and an “old love.”
He understands what a woman means when she says her hair smelled of grease.
He learns the value of the cliches he’d always dismissed, like “The children almost drove me mad!” He learns that these cliches are also “paving blocks at the crossroads of existence.”
“While the Prizewinner was packing lunches this picknicking summer, the particular part of his ghost-phallus which remained in New York—his very reputation in residence—had not only been ambushed but was apparently being chewed half to death by a squadron of enraged Amazons, an honor guard of revolutionary (if we would only see them) vaginas.”
The attack was masterminded by his old nemesis, Time. Mailer thought he had won; after all, he once “captured the mistress of a Potentate of Time,” thereby vanquishing the Evil Empire once and for all. (WARNING: this might give you flashbacks of You’ve Got Mail).
If, in a story, he had once written called “The Time of Her Time,” the protagonist had been fond of referring to his sexual instrument as the Avenger, now the Prizewinner whammed nothing less than a Retaliator in and out of Vengeance Mews (thereby collecting a good share of the poisons the Potentate had certainly left behind) and was so intent on retribution it took him months to recognize that the dear pudding of a lady in whom he was inserting his fast-thrusting barb was a remarkable girl, almost as interesting, complex, Machiavellian, and spirited as himself.