Friday, January 22, 2016

Why Are We In Vietnam? by Norman Mailer

with the smell of the North on a September night, a fine tricky clean smell, like a fine nervce washed in alcohol and lightly powdered to get the rut of flesh off.

Copyright 1967.  Thomas Pynchon must have read this book, since Gravity's Rainbow seems to have gotten its central voice from the main character, D.J. Jethroe, the jiving, brilliant, clowning 18 year old consciousness that narrates this psychic hurricane of a novel.  Vietnam not mentioned until the very last sentences, it is instead about American male mad lust, violent charisma and energy, seething through DJ's mind as he sits at a farewell banquet, about to ship off to Vietnam (hot damn) and rememebering his hunting trip to Alaska two years old with his best friend and his father.

An experience of a book.  A little nauseasting, a lotta bewildering, but a reading that is lived.

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