Ancient Evenings – Norman Mailer

ancient eveningsThis book isn’t for everyone.  It’s very graphic, and long, and some of the reviews when it first came out were scathing. However, there are very few books that can compare for sheer inventiveness.  The dazzling prose in this tale of an ancient Egyptian, Menenhetet, who is reincarnated three times, resonated with me long after I turned the last page. Meticulously researched, the era of the eighteenth-dynasty Pharaoh Rameses and his wife, Queen Nefertiti, comes to life in Mailer’s capable hands.  The bulk of the novel concerns Menenhetet’s first life. Through battle, politics, court intrigue and sex, Menenhetet rises from charioteer to General, to keeper of the Pharaoh’s harem, to the Queen’s personal guard.  There is also a great deal of mysticism as Menenhetet, for example, takes the final journey through death itself.  I also loved Mailer’s Executioner’s Song about the death of killer Gary Gilmore.  Truly gifted author.

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