Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

The thing that I like about the Community of Readers program is that it gives me an excuse to read books that I never had a strong enough reason to read in the past. Mailer's The Naked and the Dead is one of those titles. I am conflicted about this novel in a number of ways. On one hand it is well written and very realistic in it portrayal of men in an extreme all-male environment. How they speak to each other, etc. and the novel works on this level very effectively. On the other hand, it's when Mailer delves into the personalities of the characters and their back stories that the characters break down into disturbing stereotypes and the narrative suffers for it. The other thing that bothers me is the overarching misogyny of the novel. No character has anything good to say about women and I can't find any good reason within the logic of the novel for this. So, the fact is that I can't rightly recommend this read. If you are interested in this genre of novel than you would be much better served in reading From Here To Eternity, a novel whose characters, male and female, ring with a truth that is refreshing after Mailer's distasteful book.

Leatherby Libraries Call Number: PS3525.A4152 N34 1948
2nd Floor Humanities Library
Review submitted by: Rand Boyd, Special Collections & Archives Librarian, Leatherby Libraries
Rating: Not Recommended

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