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The Big Empty: Dialogues on Politics, Sex, God, Boxing, Morality, Myth, Poker & Bad Conscience in America

3.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  62 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Questions are posed, writes Norman Mailer, "in the hope they will open into richer insights, which in turn will bring forth sharper questions." In this series of conversations, John Buffalo Mailer, 27, poses a series of questions to his father, challenging the reflections and insights of the man who has dominated and defined much of American letters for the past sixty year ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Nation Books (first published January 3rd 2006)
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Ted Burke
Oct 16, 2012 Ted Burke rated it did not like it
Norman Mailer was one of the best interview subjects of the second half of the 20th century, an imaginative , provocative, often brilliant mind who could start lengthy debates with his proposistions no matter how absurd they seemed. People get old, though, their energies, physically and intellectually, flag or harden into crusty things no longer alluring to the mind and eye, andNorman Mailer was no exception. The ideas he pus forth here in his chats with son John Buffalo Mailer are piecemeal run ...more
Matt Sadorf
Dec 18, 2012 Matt Sadorf rated it really liked it
This was an interesting and entertaining book. It consists of discussions between a father and his son, covering many different topics.

I really enjoyed getting to read what Norman had to say about various topics just a few short years before his passing. John Buffalo Mailer leads the discussion at times, and puts his two cents in as well, which is great for showing the difference in generations.

This is one of those books that you might have to be in the mood for, if you choose to read it, but if
May 08, 2008 Kristy rated it did not like it
I was trying to get a better sense of writing guru Norman Mailer... but this book of previously published Q & A-style interviews between Mailer and his 25-year old son was a little dissapointing. Maybe it's because a lot of the political analysis is a few years old... and maybe it's because I'm not sure Mailers son is more qualified than I am to assert his opinions about the state of the world. Oh well, the library got in the Mailer book I was waiting for, so hopefully I'll like that one bet ...more
Aug 01, 2010 Eva rated it liked it
The book is a repetition of most of the Mailer interviews we can find on the internet. It's not really bad though there's nothing new to it. (Mailer's positions on war, America, Iraq ...)
I would have found a better interest if John Buffalo had intervened more often and if he had confronted his father more. He merely asks questions as if he did not dare to share his positions. Overall, it is a decent book but I still feel like something is missing. Perhaps other subjects should have been addresse
Feb 20, 2014 Bernadette rated it liked it
Really thought provoking!
Chris Salisbury
Apr 07, 2008 Chris Salisbury rated it liked it
Mostly a great book simply because it's an interview between John Buffalo Mailer, Norman Mailer's youngest kid, and Norman Mailer. Apperently it is mostly comprised of a series John did for Playboy with some other dialogues thrown in. There is some interesting takes on life, politics and boxing.
Matthew Matheson
Jan 28, 2008 Matthew Matheson rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Read more of Norman Mailer's books.

Also read: (paste on other books)
Dos Capital-1949
Mailer on Nixon
Feb 16, 2011 Ryan rated it really liked it
A series of casual father-son conversations that will probably appeal to fans only.
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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 about Norman Mailer...

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“Great hope has no real footing unless one is willing to face into the doom that may also be on the way.
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