James Baldwin brought me to Norman Mailer. Per James Baldwin they were friends.
From The Naked and the Dead: “The only thing to do is get by on style.”
The real time of The Naked and the Dead is interesting enough. If it were without the flashbacks, the mini bios in between live action sequences, it would be even more powerful. That device might have been needed before but now seem unnecessary for the story to remain vivid, so good is the writing—in fact they’re a drag at times, TMI.
So I put Marguerite Duras’ novel The Lover on reserve using the library website and then went to pick it up at the lending kiosk outside the (closed) building. Hours later I’m online again and I go to Amazon Prime video and guess what is a suggestion for me? The movie version of The Lover. Serendipity or coincidence?
But certainly a serendipity is the French and their colony Vietnam connection to The Lover and to Ocean Vuong’s novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous where there is also a connection to Vietnam the Americans in Vietnam, the Vietnamese in America
I like the atmosphere of torpor, languor, desire and pleasure in The Lover, and then in On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous a “brutally honest exploration of race, class and masculinity” contained in the story of subsequent generations of Vietnamese Americans, in the USA as a result of the war by the USA against Vietnam,
But I was also looking for choice bits from Ocean Vuong and found some poetic ones:
“Out my window this morning just before sunrise a deer stood in a fog so dense and bright that the second one, not too far away, looked like the unfinished shadow of the first.”
Or how about: “The fluorescent hums steady above them, as if the scene is a dream the light is having.”