Norman Mailer's death earlier this month produced varying obituaries, most of which recalled his sometimes violent and aberrant behavior, and his sexist and homophobic remarks. Yet in spite of his many failings, he was a brilliant writer. Beth at the Cassandra Pages says it so much better than I could.
I've been doing some research on the 1968 Democratic Convention for a time-travel novel I'm working on. Malier's account isn't the most comprehensive or the most informative, but it's the most well--written. Here's a paragraph from his description of Chicago from Miami and the Siege of Chicago (New York: World Publishing Co., 1968):
"Not here for a travelogue--no need then to detail the Loop, in death like the center of every other American city, but what a dying! Old department stores, old burlesque houses, avenues, dirty avenues, the El with its nineteenth century dialogue of iron screeching against iron about a turn, and caverns of shadow on the pavement beneath, the grand hotels with their massive lobbies, baroque ceilings, resplendent as Roman bordellos, names like Sheraton-Blackstone, Palmer House, red fields of carpet, a golden cage for elevator, the unheard crash of giant mills stamping new shapes on large and obdurate materials is always pounding in one's inner ear--Dreiser had not written about Chicago for nothing."
None of the other descriptions of 1968 Chicago could match that one paragraph.