Even in Triumph, Mailer’s a Battler

Hillel Italie of the AP:

Captnyha10811170211NEW YORK – Even upon receiving an honorary medal for lifetime achievement, Norman Mailer took a little heat and gave some right back. The 82-year-old Mailer, cited Wednesday night at the National Book Awards, was introduced by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, who praised him as a giant of American letters while reminding the audience of his prickly past.

“I have my own list of objections that I can peruse at my leisure, not least of which is an almost comic obtuseness regarding women,” said Morrison, who then likened Mailer’s work to the United States itself, “generous; impractical; often wrong; always engaged; mindful of, and often amused by, his own power.”

Mailer, recovering from heart surgery and long plagued by bad knees, hobbled up to the stage, good-naturedly acknowledged his reputation — “I’m obtuse about women, but also wary of them” — then engaged the real enemy.

More here.