Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eighteen minutes

Dan Visel commented on my recent post about Marguerite Young and her mammoth, many-years-in-the-making novel Miss MacIntosh, My Darling (1965). He sent me a link to her 1977 Paris Review interview, which (he writes) "is full of things like this":

I met Norman Mailer at a cocktail party after Miss MacIntosh was published. I had never seen him before. He came up to me and said, “Were there any fighters in your family?” I answered, “Why yes. My half-brother was a champion in the ring.” “I knew it,” he said, “I knew you had a fighter in the family.” “Well, what made you think that?” I asked. He said, “Because it took a lot of strength hanging out in the sawdust ring like that, punching away for eighteen years the way you did.” Then he wrote to my publisher to say I was a “gentle Hercules in highheels.” My publisher's publicity department gave that letter to a cartoonist at the Herald Tribune who did it up and showed it to me—a cartoon of me punching it out with Mailer with that caption, “a gentle Hercules in highheels.” So Mailer was congratulating me for the stamina of spending so many years on a novel. I suppose it took stamina in a way, but it takes stamina to write anything for eighteen minutes.

Question: Have any of you read this book? Was it great?

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