The Executioner's Song
"The big book no one but Mailer could have dared...absolutely astonishing". -- Joan Didion, The New York Times Book Review
In what is arguably his greatest book, written in 1979, America's most heroically ambitious writer follows the short, blighted career of Gary Gilmore, an intractably violent product of America's prisons who -- after robbing two men and killing them in cold blood -- insisted on dying for his crime. To do so, he had to fight a system that seemed intent on keeping him alive long after it had sentenced him to death.
Norman Mailer tells Gilmore's story -- and those of the men and women caught up in his procession toward the firing squad -- with implacable authority, steely compassion, and a restraint that evokes the parched landscapes and stern theology of Gilmore's Utah. The Executioner's Song is a towering achievement, impossible to put down, impossible to forget.
"Literature of the highest order". -- Miami Herald
"A harrowing account...elevated by Mailer's genius into art". -- Houston Chronicle