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Tough Guys Don't Dance

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,935 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
" A novel that is as brash and brooding and ultimately as mesmerizing as the author himself...The dazzling balance betwen humor and horror keeps us plunging on....As for characters, each is a gem....It is a book to read with infinite pleasures."
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tim Madden awakes one morning with a gruesome hangover, a painful tatoo on his upper arm, blood all over the p
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Mass Market Paperback, 373 pages
Published June 12th 1985 by Ballantine Books (first published 1984)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,941)
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Ben Loory
Jul 23, 2011 Ben Loory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
okay, at this point i just flat-out love norman mailer, but his endings are really letting me down. his voice is so wild and burning and furious, so full of madness and spiritual and intellectual yearning, but then somehow his stories always devolve into just a bunch of people sitting around and baldly explaining the story to each other in the least interesting way conceivable. he makes a big show of being an anti-rationalist, but as far as stories go, he's a total realist; all this lip service ...more
Mark
Jun 16, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite sure what to think of this book. It doesn't seem to illustrate Mailer's mastery of language and story telling. His writing does, however, capture quite well the strange, violently surreal, half-paranoid/half-indifferent malaise of hard-core alcoholism. In fact, the whole book reminds me in many ways of a recurring dream I had during my years of dark adventures with the sauce. Also pervasive in the book is a struggle with masculinity, repressed homosexuality, and misogyny tangled up ...more
Michael
In a box somewhere I still have all of my Norman Mailer books, with which I have a relationship that can only be called ambivalent. At the time, I thought he was brilliant even while finding much of his work howlingly awful. Often at the same time. (See Harlot's Ghost, a novel that oscillates wildly between great and terrible and that I remember loving beyond all reason.)

Take this novel, which is a typically overwrought take on a noirish thriller and mixes Mailer's usual obsessions (drugs, drink
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Vit Babenco
Tough Guys Don't Dance is an attempt at post-noir. It is bloody. It is gory without glory. It reads like a parody. Probably it is one. Even if inadvertently…
“I could merely ponder the waves. The waves outside the lounge-room window on this chill November night had become equal in some manner to the waves in my mind. My thoughts came to a halt and I felt the disappointment of profound drunken vision. Just as you waddle up to the true relations of the cosmos, your vocabulary blurs.”
Tough guys don'
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Thomas Strömquist
Dark, violent and really really good! One of my most read books (and the movie, sadly underrated, is one of my most seen as well). Read the book first! Also, I read it most in its translated to Swedish form and while there is nothing wrong with the translation, the original text really surpasses that one.
Joseph DiFrancesco
My first dalliance with Mailer. Gritty, noir narrative carried along in the trembling hands of a classic anti-hero, this story was a little hard to follow for me. I walked away feeling all the wiser for having read the works of this dark and pugnacious writer, but being a story man, was left a little disappointed. His characters are very rich, but there are times where 98% of a given chapter was character development with the last two paragraphs being dedicated to plot advancement. As a result, ...more
Scott Rhee
Feb 15, 2014 Scott Rhee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I'm a huge Norman Mailer fan.

(As an aside, let me just divulge something here. I have no idea, really, why I have a huge affinity for certain writers that are notoriously misogynistic in nature: Phillip Roth, John Updike, Mailer, to name a few. I don't consider myself a misogynist. I'm actually pretty pro-feminist in my views. So why I like these particular authors, who spend a good portion of their time writing about their sexual exploits and/or odes to their penis is beyond me. Except to say
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Bill
Apr 16, 2009 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How did I miss reading Mailer when I was younger? I still haven't read his most acclaimed books, but where were my parents? Well, I guess all the sex, pot, coke, LSD, and violence probably kept them from heralding him to me as a lad. I occasionally get the same feeling I get when reading Thompson, an enjoyable shock accompanied by envy over their prose. I find it hard to make a role model out of someone who had six wives and stabbed one of them, but hey, nobody's perfect.
Juan Araizaga
Jul 12, 2016 Juan Araizaga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
8 días y 323 páginas después.

Lo primero que tengo que decir es que es una pésima edición. Probablemente una de las peores que haya leído, le hacen falta montones de espacios para poder comprender todo; tal vez no haya sido la edición, sino la forma tan "abultada" de escribir del autor.

Esta novela intenta describir lo ajetreado de una noche de borrachera. Se tiene al escritor Tim Madden, él es azotado por el recuerdo de su mujer que lo ha dejado hace 24 días. En el día 25 el se pone una tremenda
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Bill Chamberlain
People say this book lacks plot, and they are correct. People say the characters are unsympathetic & trashy. Also correct. Can’t help but like it, though. Mailer’s prose is engaging.
Brian Fagan
The plot and characters are ridiculous, but the writing style is great. It's fucking Mailer, man! Weed and decapitated broads!
Wally
Jun 04, 2007 Wally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is this where Mailer asks the question, why do gay men congregate in cities with giant phallic monuments? I can't remember.
Sheri
So, I said to a friend the other day: "Watch out, I'm reading Mailer again...that guy is funny, insightful, AND inappropriate; it's a shame he is dead." Truly, that is how I feel. I know lots of people see him as just a good old fashioned prick, but I think there is more here. His writing is pompous and homophobic and certainly ridiculously sexual; but I just don't see it is a promoting the white man as better than anyone else. Instead, it's kind of like Louis CK's joke about how he will hands d ...more
Barry
Sep 22, 2011 Barry rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011
First Mailer I've ever tackled. I liked it. Basically a standard murder mystery, with the twist, if it can be called that, of a main protagonist who is an alcoholic sexual sleaze-bag of at times questionable morality. Mailer's skill is evident in that he makes it possible to empathise with this character. A good read.
Ljuke
Sep 07, 2009 Ljuke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mailer comes off like a new-age Raymond Chandler in this confusing, masculine mystery. Because he wrote it quickly to meet a publishing deadline, there is none of the self-indulgence of his other books.
Joe
Dec 05, 2007 Joe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
a funny, bloody 80s noir with a reprint of updike's long and ridiculous description of a vagina. (which mailer and his character greatly admire.)
Heather
Dec 23, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Norman Mailer experience and I will be back. A disturbing, but absorbing read about murder, drugs and everything else bad.
Andrew
Jul 07, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough Guys Don't Dance is set in Provincetown during the off-season, when the few natives become inverted and spend most of their time in dark bars. It begins as a pretty straightforward, albeit dark, mystery, but quickly turns surreal and nightmarish as you spend a week of hell with our victim/suspect/murderer(?), as he attempts to piece together just what happened on the night he blacked out drunk and woke up with a tattoo on his arm that reads "Laurel", vague recollections of arguing with his ...more
Eric Layton
Nov 24, 2014 Eric Layton marked it as could-not-finish
Sadly, this was my first experience with Mailer. It's a shame, too. I could not finish this book. I found it to be a tad too long on vulgarity and foul language and a bit short on plot. I'm no prude. Hell, I'm a foul mouthed biker, actually. I can cuss with the best of 'em. However, a well-written and plotted story does not, in my opinion, need this excess of profanity that I found in this book. It sorta' turned me off to the story altogether.

Mailer should have taken a lesson from John D. MacDon
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David
Oct 11, 2007 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, yes. This book has a veneer of misogyny, but truly the real issue here is not a hatred of women but a willful misunderstanding of women. This book’s only concern is masculinity; the women here are presented only as noir femme fatales or gun molls. To take great offence at Mailer's disparaging such mythical creatures is akin to being frustrated at the mischaracterization elves or unicorns. This is the nature of the genre. What made this book worth reading (for me), was the application of Mail ...more
Bookcase Jim
Oct 13, 2013 Bookcase Jim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fairly indulgent when it comes to reading and have a tough time putting a book down once I start, but given the premise of Tough Guys Don't Dance, it was a real bitch to get through. The writing was good, granted, but somehow it just didn't fit the story, it was all so stileted. The protagonist wasn't memorable, neither were any of the other characters. I finished it (don't remember how it ends), and all I remember is I was greatly disappointed. It was my one and only experience with Mailer. ...more
Great  Writers Steal
The novel starts on the twenty-fourth morning after Tim Madden’s wife decided she wanted to fly the coop. Madden is hung over and has a new tattoo on his arm: the name of a woman from his past. The passenger seat of his Porsche is drenched in blood. Over the course of the next several days, Madden unravels the mysteries that he only thought began when he met the beautiful rich blond and her ugly husband in his favorite Provincetown watering hole.

That’s right, the book is essentially a high-class
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Christine
Nov 26, 2008 Christine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dan and Mike
In general, this book was like pulling teeth...from your vagina. Yup, vagina dentata, which surprisingly, did not make an appearence in Tough Guys. Still, I found the level of misogyny quite satisfactory. I think it's supposed to be satirical? And don't despair, guys, Mailer hasn't forgotten about you; he also explores machismo and homosexuality...so read it if you want to "search the recesses and buried virtues of the modern American male." And who doesn't?
Lorileinart
Mar 11, 2008 Lorileinart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While not considered to be Mailer's best work, it is nevertheless my favorite. If I could offer this bit of advice: read it like you are watching a black and white film noir movie on a dark and rainy night. It's meant to be digested that way, only you won't get that until you've read it a number of times. Mailer explores marriage, homosexuality, marriage AND homosexuality, among other erotic notions, on the back roads along Cape Cod.
Susan Morris
Apr 30, 2009 Susan Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this murder mystery 4 stars because I think it was skillfully written. It's not for the sensitive though - it's loaded with mature themes, like graphic sex, brutal violence, homophobia and drugs. The author seemed to be striving to push the reader's buttons. If you are a mature adult, read it, then take a shower afterward.
Charles M.
This rather confusing book finishes very fast and surprisingly. Tim Madden wakes up from a drug/alcohol instilled stupor to find that he has a tattoo, and blood all over his car. He then unravels what really happened that "evening before"! Not one of Mailer's best, but certainly keeps your interest during last 100 pages!
Thomas Strömquist
Norman Mailer quickie thriller that sweeps the floor with the most of the genre. Drugs (and drug-induced amnesia), odd and unpredictable characters and saturated with sex and (threats of) violence. Oh, and a new tattoo and a beheaded wife. Worth reading just for the background story for the title.
Sergio
Aug 27, 2014 Sergio rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lo peor que he leído hasta el momento de Mailer. Cómo un tipo capaz de parir Los Desnudos y los Muertos, o La Canción del Verdugo puede escribir esta novela, es algo que no dejo de preguntarme.

Al principio promete. No sigue los cánones de la novela negra al milímetro. En vez de ceñirse a la trama, el tipo empieza a recrearse en idas de pinza del protagonista, dotándole de un trasfondo que es casi más interesante que el leitmotiv. Sin embargo, conforme avanza la novela, lo que cuenta el protagon
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Sandra
Sep 13, 2011 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange book. I can't even decide if I liked it or not. On the one hand, I couldn't put it down, on the other, I was generally confused by it. Maybe I'll have to have another go at reading it.
Slarson6
Jun 07, 2010 Slarson6 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not know what to expect from Norman Mailer, but now can see his skills. A bit of a twisted murder, with sex and drugs, corupt cops and even mob references. Very good, although a little dated.
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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.
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“Mi resi conto, allora, che l'unico vero collaudo della forza – del tono muscolare, per così dire – della sanità mentale è la capacità di sostenere l'urto di un interrogativo dietro l'altro senza che vi sia neanche l'ombra di una risposta.” 2 likes
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