Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “La canción del verdugo ” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
La canción del verdugo
 
by
Norman Mailer
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

La canción del verdugo

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  12,461 ratings  ·  804 reviews
La Cancin del Verdugo, obra galardonada con el Premio Pulitzer, cuenta la historia de Gary Gilmore, el hombre que salt a los titulares de la prensa con motivo de su ajusticiamiento, ocurrido el 17 de enero de 1977, en la Penitenciara Estatal de Utah. Porque, aunque hubiese podido prestarse al largo forcejeo de las apelaciones y dems subterfugios legales que le habran permi ...more
Paperback
Published by Anagrama (first published 1979)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about La canción del verdugo, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Matt Dykzeul Did you end up finishing? I stopped halfway at the end of "book one" and I plan to go back later. It was getting quite hard to get through, I was…moreDid you end up finishing? I stopped halfway at the end of "book one" and I plan to go back later. It was getting quite hard to get through, I was pleased when I realised it was broken into two books so I had a chance to put it down and read something else and go back. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Matt
This book is something. Yup, it surely is.

The Executioner's Song is one of those oxymoronically-named "non-fiction novels." In a non-fiction novel - the classic of the genre being Truman Capote's In Cold Blood - a journalist takes his research as far as humanly possible, right up to the boundary of unknown human thought, and then fills those gaps with reasoned speculation. It's kind of shady. Well, it's really shady, especially since it's never clear what is hard-fact and what is guesswork. Sha
...more
Mariel
Dec 26, 2013 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nothing like the sun
Recommended to Mariel by: invisible sun
Gary Gilmore's died in photographs are black and white. They are all mugshots. Gray faced still if they were to be in color mug shots of crimes of who knows what. Living or dead. Gray smirks and flat lines and nothing reaching the eyes because they are always somewhere else. Some live to get to heaven and another hopes it won't be as bad the next go around... Crimes to be and crimes of the soul. The photograph captions might say, "We always knew he'd be up to no good." The inside caption says, " ...more
Paul Bryant

I never got round to reviewing this mighty five star masterpiece before because I thought it spoke for itself. But I just reread one long chapter and was again knocked out, it’s just beautiful stuff. Not having read anything else by stormin’ Norman except his dubious, lubricious “biography” of Marilyn Monroe (I liked it but the pictures were better, I mean to say, he had about 8 wives himself and he was moaning out loud that he’d never married Marilyn, really it was a bit gross) I had thought he
...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Finished after three years and three copies. Totally worth the thousand pages of time, even with all the gaps and hassle.
K.D. Absolutely
Jun 16, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; Pulitzer Winner in 1989
Long read. 1,050 pages of history about the life and death of an American that was executed by firing squad in 1977 in Utah. This is Norman Mailer's answer to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood that was published in 1969 and started a new literary classification called non-fiction novels.

I read this with a lawyer as a reading buddy. We spent 14 days (1 day per part). Here is the discussion thread containing our daily thoughts. Sorry if some of the phrases are in Filipino.

Gary Mark Gilmore (1940-1977)
...more
rachel
There is a TED talk by Bryan Stevenson, about racial and class injustice in the prison system, that asks what I have come to realize is the hardest and most important question about capital punishment. It is not "does a guilty criminal deserve to die?" but "does the state have a right to kill?". This is a basic and obvious question, but it seems to take a backseat to the first question in discussions about the death penalty. The argument over capital punishment is as much or more gut driven as i ...more
gaby
Mar 12, 2008 gaby rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of lovers, epics, convicts, murder, and the hollywood exploitation of it all
I can't resist the deliciously apparent metaphor provided by the circumstance that it took me pretty much exactly from Christmas to Easter to read this epic, 1100 page book about the life and death of Gary Gilmore.

1100 pages! I've only read one longer book in my life, The Glass Bead Game, which was so good it took less than a week to read. Obviously, this book wasn't in the same league.

But it was much better than expected, since I'd otherwise been nursing a nascent hatred of Mailer initially sp
...more
William1
What a ******* book! Mind numbingly good. An intellectual grand slam!
Jack
I should start out by admitting that I'm wary of inordinately long books. I decided that this, my first Mailer, had a reputation such that I would give it a shot.
Then, a few days ago, a sensation akin to exasperation and/or fatigue set in which I don't think related to the quality of Mailer's prose. I was on page 802, and had a moment of terrifying clarity in which it became real for me that I still had another 250 pages to go. Thereafter, I started to find it difficult to maintain the proper p
...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called literary classics, then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #52: The Executioner's Song (1980), by Norman Mailer

The story in a nutshell:
One of the last great hurrahs from the so-called "New Journalism" of the coun
...more
Alex
I get what Mailer's doing here. He's using the case of murderer Gary Gilmore to raise big questions about good and evil and free will, and it's a smart thing to do and he does a good job.

But that doesn't change that it's a bummer of a book.

And it should have been pruned. It is important for Mailer to show everyone around Gilmore, so we can see that it's his whole world, his whole milieu that directs him to where he ends up, but it didn't need this much detail. Mailer could've trimmed 400 pages
...more
Tony
In the Summer of 1976, Max Jensen had been married one year. He had just finished his first year of law school. He managed to get a job working nights at a gas station in Utah. One night, Gary Gilmore pulled in and put a gun to Jensen's head. He took what money was on hand. Then Gilmore said "This one's for me" and shot Jensen in the head.

It the Summer of 1977. I had been married one year. I had just finished my first year of law school and, not being well-connected, managed to get a job working
...more
Joseph Nicolello
Dec 13, 2013 Joseph Nicolello marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: winter
It is the end of a year marked by poverty, isolation, an inability to raise funds to continue studying Linguistics at Brooklyn College, and abortive attempt at academia in Asshole, Pennsylvania, and nothing to look forward to but the prospects of snagging a paralegal degree while one by one copyrighting my manuscripts, wishing I was elsewhere, staring at my books in a cramped room which an Okcupid (Why must this Cupid merely be 'OK') date recently pointed out there was a hole in the wall and a s ...more
Ira
Mailer dug into the world of Gary Gilmore and it's a none to happy place. He must have had just a plethora of access to this guy. This is Mailer's attempt to do the Capote non-fiction as narrative and he pulls it off. As stark and alarming as In Cold Blood is, Mailer's gift for the English language, his attention to detail, the length of the novel (it's a long one) and the subject matter make Executioner's Song the "classic of the this genre."
Larry
Holy shit. I picked this off the shelf after a trip to SLC. Knew Utah was related. Didn't know I'd devour 1000 pages so fast. I think this should be required reading in the US of A. As a lover of Vollmann, and unfamiliar with any of Mailer's novels or longer works, I now compare his non-judgemental style and pathos to WTV, only he writes in a manner any one who made it to HS could understand. I dunno. Gonna be foisting this fucker on many people in the near future. I seriously got a near-wrist s ...more
Dave
Sep 02, 2007 Dave rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like to read about bad things happening to mediocre people
Boy was this a read, up there with prairyerth on shoe size. i felt if i didn't finish this extended case history of one man's journey through the court, parole and prison systems of america then mailer was going to punch my ears. once gilmore does the double deed and ends up in the pokey the yarn stretches a bit thin (much like THE ONION FIELD) with court details that start to veer into true crime territory. What keeps it interesting from start to finish is the relationship between Gary Gilmore ...more
Flavia
I had this book on my list as "must-read classic". I don't know where that came from. It was one of the most boring books I ever read. I cannot believe I ploughed through > 1,000 pages of excrutiatingly detailed narration of the true crimes, trial and execution of Gary Gilmore. I didn't give anything away; it's on the book jacket. After reading how each person dressed, how they were raised (even the minor players whose names you can forget right afterwards!), their exact words in every exact ...more
Lostinanovel
Much more of an ambitious book than I realized when I began it. Was an engrossing tale of a man released from prison, his inability to deal with the outside world and his surprising successes and shocking downfall. But the book goes on as an expose of media frenzy, the legal system, the judicial and correctional systems and American pop culture of the 1970s.

I also think Mailer wrote so well that there were revelations about America in the 70s he may not have realized he was preserving. For one,
...more
sean
2015 has been a bit of suckfest so far. actually, january was good: i was still darting around europe, postponing any thoughts of what shape adult life might end up taking, and not having these insane provisional grand plans like oh yeah, sean, why not just try law school in 2016? my trip away was intended to be at least a partial solution to the nervous tension that had been building in me for the last two years. i'd been taking on more work commitments than i could handle, helping to manage my ...more
Monique

Original post here.

My preferred genre is fiction, and I hardly ever touch non-fiction books unless it is absolutely necessary (read: for work or for reference purposes). So it's a first time for me to pick up a non-fiction book just for the sheer pleasure of it. I buddy-read this book with Kuya Doni, the (senior) book club moderator, for exactly 14 days.

The Executioner's Song is the true account of the life, conviction and eventually, execution of Gary Mark Gilmore, a 30-something convicted fel
...more
Kara
This book is a total slog. The Goodreads description calls it meticulous; I call it boring. It kind of lands in gray area between fiction and non-fiction, and it's pretty obvious that neither Mailer nor Schiller (the principal "researcher"/journalist/producer/opportunist) actually did a face-to-face interview with Gilmore.
As a subject, Gilmore just isn't that interesting. One of the journalists suggests that Gilmore is "mediocrity enlarged by history," and that pretty much sums it up. He was a m
...more
Kelly
An extraorinary work by an extraordinary writer. I read this book the first time when I was just a teen and even though some of it was over my head it was still fascinating. Read it again as an adult and was just floored by it. Mailer's way of presenting the story of murderer Gary Gilmore was done in such a way that it read more like fiction than it did a biography. My emotions were pulled in so many directions,hating Gilemore but yet somehow feeling sorry for him at the same time even after rea ...more
Kara

I read this book when I was 14 and it had an out sized impact on me. An unrelenting, exhaustive and harrowing account of 9 months (from when he is released on parole to the day of his execution), of Gary Gilmore's life. The book is based almost exclusively on accounts from Gary Gilmore's family and friends and is written in an unperformative, transparent style that is exceedingly, exhaustively detailed but remarkably never boring or tedious.

In inscrutable detail, Mailer follows Gilmore's pitiful
...more
Fawaz Ali
In the Executioner’s Song, Norman Mailer chronicles the life of Gary Gilmore; a man responsible for murdering two people in Utah in 1976. The book takes a particular interest in the events surrounding the murders, trial and execution of Gary Gilmore and follows the lives of people who have come into contact with him.

The first part of the book leading to the murders is engaging; whereas the second part is dull; as it provides lengthy accounts of secondary characters that are irrelevant to the sto
...more
Myles
The best description I've read of this massive beast is "The White Trash War and Peace."

I'm glad to have experienced it's immense effect, but it's not Mailer beyond its bombastic scope. None of his distinct authorial voice appears. Instead, what we have is a thousand page exercise in free indirect style-- each segment is written to evoke the voice of its subject. As such, The Executioner's Song reads more like Raymond Carver than Norman Mailer. Of course, that's nothing to complain about. Pain u
...more
christa
What you suspect is wrong with the true crime two-pounder The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer is confirmed when you watch the movie adaptation: The purposely visible fingerprints of the Lawrence Schiller, the man who worked his ass off to turn the unprecedented story of a killer sentenced to death into a made-for-TV movie.

Gary Gilmore had spent most of his life incarcerated by the mid-1970s when he was released from prison and into the hands of his once adoring cousin Brenda in Utah. She set
...more
Sara
i think that this book got another big pump from matthew barney's cremaster cycle's and thank god. it's incredible. mailer tracks the life and execution of gary gilmore, a man who saw more time inside of a prison than outside-by a large margin-and eventually randomly murdered two mormon men in utah, where he lived for almost nine months after being released from prison and before he was incarcerated again. there's no doubt that this is gilmore's book. and no one else's.

there's no way to summariz
...more
James
It is funny to call an account of a criminal and the double murder he committed which clocks in at over a thousand pages restrained. But in noting every detail of Gary Gilmore's life and in fact that of everyone in Gary's very extended circle of having met him once never once does Mailer pass judgement on the evilness of the crime and the righteousness of the death sentence. I found while I didn't enjoy the book, there is a dulling blast of just poor behavior that brings out the matron aunt in m ...more
Vit Babenco
I’m not a big aficionado of criminal chronicles. And even such scrupulous and voluminous analysis of crime as The Executioner's Song didn’t really move me deeply.
“He was ready to argue there was no rational way you could justify the death penalty, except to admit it was absolute revenge. If that, he would say, was the foundation of the criminal justice system, then we had a pretty sick system.”
All those thieves, robbers, rapists, murderers do their obnoxious crimes and when caught they declare t
...more
Lindsay
Apr 07, 2008 Lindsay rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jim
Ok so it's majorly long, but it's a true story and you get to know every tiny detail about what happened...and I can't believe how often I have heard other's refer to this story since then. If you've read Under the Banner of Heaven, you'd probably be interested in this one because there are some weird coincidences and even some of the same people are in the book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Store
  • Guard of Honor
  • Early Autumn: A Story of a Lady
  • Years of Grace
  • Journey in the Dark
  • In This Our Life
  • Honey in the Horn
  • The Edge of Sadness
  • The Able McLaughlins
  • Scarlet Sister Mary
  • Dragon's Teeth I (World's End)
  • The Town
  • Lamb in His Bosom
  • The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
  • Elbow Room
  • Now in November
  • His Family
  • The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
7927
Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.

Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, but which covers the essay to the nonfiction novel. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once.
...more
More about Norman Mailer...
The Naked and the Dead An American Dream The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History The Fight The Castle in the Forest

Share This Book

“Historical, religious, and existential treatises suggest that for some persons at some times, it is rational not to avoid physical death at all costs. Indeed the spark of humanity can maximize its essence by choosing an alternative that preserves the greatest dignity and some tranquility of mind.” 6 likes
“but when the call came from Shirley Pedler to help in organizing the Utah Coalition Against the Death Penalty, she knew she would go out in the world again with her freaky blond hair, blond to everyone’s disbelief—at the age of fifty-four, go out in her denims and chin-length-hanging-down-straight vanilla hair to that Salt Lake world where nobody would ever make the mistake of thinking she was a native Utah lady inasmuch as Utah was the Beehive State. The girls went big for vertical hair-dos, pure monuments to shellac.” 1 likes
More quotes…