"The Executioner's Song," Norman Mailer's brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning story of the crimes and punishment of a 20th-century murderer and thief, is what the author calls a "true-life novel." It is a horrifying, sad, scrupulously detailed look at the events leading up to the moment Gary Gilmore was killed by a firing squad in Utah State Prison ...
"The Executioner's Song," Norman Mailer's brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning story of the crimes and punishment of a 20th-century murderer and thief, is what the author calls a "true-life novel." It is a horrifying, sad, scrupulously detailed look at the events leading up to the moment Gary Gilmore was killed by a firing squad in Utah State Prison on January 17, 1977. Based on interviews, records of court proceedings, newspaper stories, and various other documents, it covers the nine months between Gilmore's parole from prison, his final crime, and his execution. The blurring of the distinction between fiction and nonfiction was one of the central developments of postwar American literature, and Mailer's imaginative use of the facts is an extension of his earlier forays into the "new journalism." He re-creates Gillmore's tormented psyche, recounts his crimes, takes in the story of Mormonism and the history of Utah, introduces Uncle Vern, Aunt Ida, victims, cops, cons, guards, lovers, and lawyers. The "Western Voices" of small-town America and the "Eastern Voices" of the journalists and show-biz types who descend on the Gilmore story are fused into a remarkable chorus, amplifying the presence of Gilmore himself, a smart, funny, doomed man - one of the most complex characters in modern letters.
This review is based on the first 300 pages of this book because I don't think I can take much more of it. So far there are no interesting aspects to this criminal mind. I find following Gary Gilmore's minute by minute lack of judgment and poor impulse control to be extremely tedious and boring. I do not see how this book won the Pulitzer prize. I am just not seeing any literary merit to the work.
Oct 21, 2007
Like In Cold Blood, this book is a nonfiction novel following the imprisonment and death of Gary Gilmore, a "cold-blooded" murderer. Though the validity of this book has been questioned, it is still a very interesting tale of murder and its effects on society. Admittedly, the views are a bit skewed towards Gilmore, and there are some very lurid details (descriptively sexual, mainly), but all in all, if you can get through it, this book is a good read.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.