[[ EPUB ]] ✵ The Executioner's Song Author Norman Mailer – Buyphenergan500.us

The Executioner's SongIn What Is Arguably His Greatest Book, America S Most Heroically Ambitious Writer Follows The Short, Blighted Career Of Gary Gil, An Intractably Violent Product Of America S Prisons Who Became Notorious For Two Reasons First, For Robbing Two Men In , Then Killing Them In Cold Blood And, Second, After Being Tried And Convicted, For Insisting On Dying For His Crime To Do So, He Had To Fight A System That Seemed Paradoxically Intent On Keeping Him Alive Long After It Had Sentenced Him To DeathNorman Mailer Tells Gil S Story And Those Of The Men And Women Caught Up In His Procession Toward The Firing Squad With Implacable Authority, Steely Compassion, And A Restraint That Evokes The Parched Landscapes And Stern Theology Of Gil S Utah The Executioner S Song Is A Trip Down The Wrong Side Of The Tracks To The Deepest Sources Of American Loneliness And Violence It Is A Towering Achievement Impossible To Put Down, Impossible To ForgetWinner Of The Pulitzer Prize

    10 thoughts on “[[ EPUB ]] ✵ The Executioner's Song Author Norman Mailer – Buyphenergan500.us


  1. says:

    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 Shadiness aside, this type of book is also hugely entertaining The Executioner s Song tells the story of Gary Mark Gil funny how killers and child stars always go by their full names , a lowlife thug who d spent over half his life in prison before ruthlessly murdering two men while on parole Instead of fighting his conviction on appeal, Gil forced the State of Utah s hand, essentially daring them to execute him Coming on the heels of the US Supreme Court s moratorium on the death penalty, Gil was the first person executed in the country for 10 years That s the story in a nutshell, but there s nothing about The Executioner s Song that is nutshell worthy To begin with, it s written by Norman Mailer In fact, that might be the most important thing about The Executioner s Song the Norman Mailer ness of it all If you don t believe me, just look at the front cover a small picture of a gas station where one of the murders occurred the title of the book, in small print and then the author s name, NORMAN MAILER, in huge font, dominating the negative space I wasn t yet born while Mailer was in his prime, and he was dead before I read his first book, but I ve read enough of his work, and read enough about him, to understand that Mailer made himself the foremost character of everything he wrote He does this in The Executioner s Song by the simple fact that he wrote a 1,000 page book about Gary Gil 1,000 pages about a pseudo folk hero who never did a redeemable thing in his life He may have had a genius level IQ, and a talent for drawing, but he was unexceptional in every other way Even his crimes were garden variety two cold blooded murders of young white men that occurred while in the course of botched robberies Tragic, yes, but not shocking or, unfortunately in this country, out of the ordinary Moreoever, despite what the publisher s copy would have you believe, Gary Gil didn t fight for his right to die Instead, he sat on his sociopathic ass while the State of Utah battled the ACLU over the date of his execution and his own lawyers battled over who would get paid for the rights to his stories In short, there s not a lot of story So what does Mailer do he writes a 1,000 page monster, a white trash epic, a hillbilly War and Peace It s unlike anything I ve ever read You realize you re reading something unique, as soon as you get to the first page The book, you see, is written in bite sized paragraphs that are separated by double spaces At first, this is kind of obnoxious, and a little pretentious Then, you realize it s sort of awesome Each of these lonely word chunks represents its own contained thought and as you move from one thought to the next, you get into a kind of rhythm that is both engaging and oddly poetic I have no idea how Mailer sustained this style for so long, but he does Mailer s greatest achievement is his voice The book is seemingly written in the third person, but it actually shifts subtly to the point of view of the subject of each paragraph It s almost as if these characters are telling their own story, with their own constricted lexicon Mailer restrains himself from using fancy words or elegant descriptions or complex sentences Everything is simple, hard, flat, and colloquial, the way that Gary or his girlfriend Nicole might tell a story Of course, Mailer being Mailer, he can t resist throwing in a few malaprops that certainly didn t come from any interviewee I m thinking, specifically, that the phrase competent glasses is a Mailer ism, and possible inspired the insufferable Murray from DeLillo s White Noise While on the topic of restraint, it should be mentioned that Mailer has attempted to do the hardest of things create a work without judgment This is both an asset and, eventually, a liability Mailer simply tells the story this happened, then this, then this It s almost like he s acting as a conduit, rather than an author He adds no commentary to the actions of his central characters For a reader accustomed to being told how to feel, this might feel odd and a little disorienting For instance, there are dozens of scenes of Gary, a pathetic conman, fruitlessly trying to bend people to his will Instead of noting how Gary was acting like a low rent Jedi with his silly mind tricks, Mailer remains silent This reticence is especially true with Nicole, who is actually the central character of the book Nicole Barrett was first married at the age of 14, and in subsequent years, and through subsequent marriages and two children she slept with dozens and dozens of men, women, and children sadly, I am not exaggerating She is constantly saying how much she loves Gary, even while sleeping with her ex husband, and a stranger she meets at a bar, and a random hitchhiker The natural inclination of an author is to note the incongruity in her thoughts faithful love and actions sex with any sentient beings in her path Mailer resists this urge and the resulting portrait, with all its inherent and human contradictions is all the richer You are forced to balance Nicole s victmhood she was sexually abused as a child with her own consistently poor choices and subpar parenting Of course, it s impossible to write entirely without judgment Mailer s judgments come from his elisions His focus is on Gil and Nicole, their love affair, Gil s incarceration, and finally, Gil s death What is missing is the crime and its victims Mailer devotes perhaps 12 pages to the family of Max Jensen, the first victim, and half of that to Ben Bushnell, the second The crimes themselves are told in a couple sentences the shootings are bloodless, vaguely detailed affairs, which stand in contrast to the graphic retellings of just about every other incident in the story This is simply unacceptable for a book that spends hundreds of pages following peripheral characters In the most egregious example, Mailer spends half a chapter following the day in the life of one of Nicole s former lovers Mailer seems to relish the opportunity to describe this man having sexual intercourse with a fifteen year old girl, right down to their exact positions hint 70 1 literary statutory rape After this sordid event, this man disappears from the book Yet for all that, Mailer can t be bothered to flesh out the lives of the victims, or their wives, or even describe the violent acts that put Gil in jail Unnecessary detail is the lifeblood of The Executioner s Song In the first half of the book, which starts with Gil s release from prison, follows him through his destructive courtship of Nicole, and ends with him in the clink, these digressions are mostly forgivable In the second half, however, frustration sets in This is mostly due to the fact that Mailer decides to follow every twist and turn of producer Lawrence Schiller, as he tries to secure the book and movie rights to Gil s life story One starts to wonder why Mailer would decide to make a leech such a central character Then you read the copyrights page, and the acknowledgments, and you realize that Mailer got most of his research material from Schiller At this point, you see these sections of The Executioner s Song in a whole new light the phrase mutual masturbation springs to mind One of the mysteries of The Executioner s Song is the extent of Mailer s involvement We all know that Capote famously went to Kansas, spent time with the people of Holcombe, and interviewed killer Perry Smith There is no indication that Mailer did anything similar Most of the research appears to have been done by Schiller, and by Gil s two attorneys, who spent hours interviewing Gil for Schiller, instead of fulfilling their ethical obligations as lawyers This is only really a problem with regards to Gil While Nicole s life story is told front to back, in great detail, Gil the putative focus remains elusive Mailer s portrat of Gil is pointillist it doesn t come from him, but from the words and observations of all these different people who came into his orbit Unfortunately, you lose a lot of information is that space between the points Mailer compounds this problem by refusing to supply any basic biographical information It s not until deep into the book that you learn why Gil was in jail in the first place armed robbery, apparently I still enjoyed this book, despite these problems I couldn t help but admire the audaciousness, the narrative voice, and the amount of effort that must have been required to put this story together Throughout, it had me questioning my own beliefs, my own perceptions who were the victims who were the perpetrators was justice served or did the justice system fail Mailer s refusal to give you any overt guidance draws those internal questions into sharp relief Gil was shot through the heart four times on January 17, 1977 At the risk of injecting politics into Goodreads, I cannot resist a parting thought How can anyone think it was a good idea to execute Gary Gil The scenes at the end of The Executioner s Song show Utah s Attorney General and the Warden of the Utah State Prison at Point of the Mountain racing against the clock to kill Gil before the US Supreme Court can intervene To what end were these men acting Would it have killed them pardon the pun to wait for the Supreme Court to rule on the Stay of Execution Does it really ennoble justice to be racing down courthouse hallways, trailing sheaths of paper in your wake, to call the prison and set the machinery of death in motion Were these men or wolves I can accept because it is the law that the Government can take a life I cannot accept that it will do so with unconstrained eagerness More than that, did anyone in 1977 stop to think why are we doing what Gary Mark Gil wants us to do I once visited a client in prison He was being released and I wanted to check in with him, to make sure he registered with certain governmental agencies This was the first time I d ever been in a prison And by prison, I mean the penitentiary, not the county lock up where defendants are held pending trial or to serve sentences of less than a year I have to go to lock up all the time, unfortunately It sat on the edge of town, on a flat stretch of prairie with bluffs in the distance It had chain link fences and razor wire and towers and guards It wasn t Marion or Supermax, but it sure wasn t Six Flags either To get in, I showed my ID, registered, and locked all my belongings in a locker Then I went through one set of locked doors, then another, then another, and another After that, I was escorted outside, to another building, another set of doors When the visit was over, after 20 minutes, I wanted to leave, but I couldn t, since there was still an hour left in the visitation block So I had to wait with all these cons and their families, who could sit close but not touch, and who were watched by guards and cameras and who were chided when they got too near Imagine that kind of hell to see but not touch the people you love Anyone who says prison isn t punishment has never been to prison It sucks When I left, I sat in the parking lot for ten minutes, gulping free air Everything about prison is regimented and lock step You wake when they tell you, you sleep when they tell you, you eat when they tell you and stop eating when they tell you, you go outside when they tell you and come back in when they tell you You re always watched, by guards and by cameras Some lights never go off There is always noise Gil hated the noise doors opening and banging shut guards yelling commands other convicts talking and threatening and acting out There are wags who will tell you it s nothing but laying around all day, watching television or reading Right Except try doing that surrounded by several hundred felons, all of whom will con you, some of whom will rape you, or beat you, or kill you try watching the boob tube while sitting on molded chairs with an armed robber to your left and an attempted murderer to your right try getting through a single page of a book with all that clanging and hollering Gary Gil didn t want to die because he felt remorse He was unable to feel remorse because he was a sociopath it would ve been nice had Mailer interjected himself enough to analyze Gary s condition, but even without any outright discussion, Gary s psychopathy is self evident He wanted to die because it was preferable to prison Fundamentally, Gary Gil was a coward He was scared of prison He d spent a lot of time behind bars, and his great fear was waiting out the remainder of his life in a place without hope More than that, he d worked himself into such a state over Nicole whose breakup with him precipitated his killing spree that he didn t want to live with the thought of her sleeping with other men Essentially, Gil was attempting state assisted suicide And the State agreed Wholeheartedly How is it punishment when you give the prisoner exactly what he wants If Gary Gil had not been executed, he would be 70 years old right now He would have had to endure 33 years of short, plain meals 33 years of brief outdoor trips to the yard 33 years of clanging doors, shouting guards, lockdowns and prisoner counts 33 years to think about the life he d never lead 33 years to miss all the technological advances 33 years to think about the women with whom he d never sleep 33 years to miss Nicole If justice is possible, I think it looks something like that Instead, the bloodlust of Utah s body politic and the cowardice of Gary Mark Gil conspired to stage a violent farce Utah gave up a bit of its soul, and Gary Gil managed to escape.


  2. says:

    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 was one of the most style conscious American writers but in this book, it being one of those non fiction novels like In Cold Blood, he throws style right out the window and it s all written in ironed flat just the facts affectless Carver speak, an absolute delight to read Of course, what a story There s this scene, you know it s gonna come up, Mailer knows, Gary knows he s in prison, Mailer is interviewing, and they discuss who s going to be playing Gary in the inevitable movie.what he got was Tommy Lee Jonesand his own Juliet, Nicole Bakergot Rosanna ArquetteThey couldn t be complaining none.The Executioner s Song is pure underclass literature, like Random Family Adrian LeBlanc , the essays of Theodore Dalrymple, Crimes in Southern Indiana Frank Bill , The Beans of Egypt, Maine Carolyn Chute , London Labour and the London Poor Mayhew and so on, and it might possibly be the best, because most detailed, of all of these attempts to portray life at the bottom which is hard to do, because those who come from the bottom tend to be trying to get away from it in their writing Genet, Jack Abbott , which means that the writers who try to portray these complex, frenzied lives are looking from the outside in, and often the whole thing is beyond them, how could it not be Mailer got everyone on board, talked to everyone, laid everything out, let everyone speak for themselves It was a feat Brilliant Must read.


  3. says:

    Gary Gil 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, I don t know what I knew Does it have to be that way The photos are taken with a box painted black and a hole cut into it There s an entire roll of a guy name Skeeziz going down on himself The view is seen through the eye of an obsidian ring gifted by the man butt fucked in jail Waiting for the roll to come back but it never does Staring contest time Score one point for Gary Gil If anyone knew then what anyone doesn t really know now Turn to the left It is Racist Gary Turn to the right Country and western Gary appears Do the hokey pokey and turn your self about Poetic Gary Artist Manque Gary is only in the dark room The front shows Texas Gary I laughed through my nose when the queen inmate gives props to his fellow Texan and the back could be Karma County Gary, in another life Gary the movie star is on tv and Gary the killer Irishman represents You ll get a t shirt Gary the romantic signs autographs with roses and kisses Don t love anyone but me, baby I ll say I ll die for you but I m really dying for me Look the other way when a kid is sent to juvie and look back again for the big finish The seconds between flashes burn the irises of lights on 24 7 in the prison cell as if that wouldn t drive someone insane There are billboards all along the way that say Nike Let s do it already and ride in the shoes of another The shoes might be a beat up mustang that stops than it starts Tension building out of tedium Does it ever stop It doesn t start Facing oneself Gil wins and loses It s a giant staring contest and playing chicken No, this photo came out all wrong There are red eyes and he looks like a demon Now he s old and frozen young The Executioner s Song is exactly the kind of book that I love the most Descriptions in my head that I can see Like Nicole Baker s kid sister April Her disturbed lips that droop on the corners like a truly crazy person from the nut house that both sisters frequented as teens The hunger in her that gnawed if she wasn t always talking It feels like that about people I know that Something I can understand and trust because it doesn t feel like being told this is the edited tv interview and an hysterical tv host with an agenda sorry, Geraldo I didn t look up your teary interview with Gil s deathwish lawyer It is well past depressing what journalism in this day is Nicole s cellphone would be hacked, among other things Actually, it s kind of eerie what with mentions of Murdoch, big pay dates and exclusive rights for stories The snowball s hell in chance of fair play started picking up momentum a long time ago Photographs and reading for what feels true is something else The why is in the steps of those Let s Do it Nikes Take me to the edge of the cliff and now let s play chicken to see if I can jump too I recognize the tension and the tedium of what doesn t start I can t stop thinking about Nicole Baker I m so impressed that she was honest about things that would make her look really bad Her relationship with her children neglectful , prostitution, her and Gary fooling around with the young Rosebeth, Gary s mostly repressed pedophilia, Nicole s taste of it the tragic tale as old as time of learning from what was done to you She s the most embarrassed about her second husband saying she was a bad lover I think I loved Nicole when she tells Gary about the letter her eleven year old self wrote to a perverted boy who wouldn t leave her alone She dares him to do those things for real Then she tears up the letter, shocked by what she had written Her mom tapes the letter together and accuses little Nicole with it She sleeps with a lot of men who would be grateful for any lay to feel better about herself Wasn t that something It really is like she lived with one foot in one world and the other in the other That might be from falling in love all of the time Other world dreaminess It was definitely a lot to do with their dad letting the rapist buddy of his have unfettered access to his daughter in her childhood Yeah, he didn t know Right Younger April gets gang raped and force fed drugs No wonder they were insane Or locking her up in the nuthouse at fourteen as much a cure as juvenile prison was for kids and only letting her out to force her to marry that sicko Or the second husband, Barrett Boy, was he something he meets her when she s being gang banged by other dudes at a party They ll love the fifteen year old girl, all right Nineteen year old Nicole WOULD have sympathies for Gary Gil, a man let out of prison for the longest bit of freedom he d have had since fourteen years of age he is thirty five when he is executed I was impressed by the pictures of Nicole looking at Gary, Gary looking at Nicole, Nicole looking at April, April looking at Nicole, Gary s cousins looking at Gary Hoping Nicole wasn t always the girl fucking a store manager for food stamps money to pay for car repairs so she d have to stop hitching to visit Gary in prison to Nicole I was impressed with this book for walking with both feet on both sides of her worlds The world where she didn t want to live and be with Gary after death The world that got creeped when anyone tried to own her it might be bad that I base too much of people based on myself, but I knew Nicole would dump Gary before she did because I d have been just as creeped by the neediness Of any of her men The Nicole that talked to herself as if all of that shit wasn t going down and all there was ever going to be was shit It was half bravery, half blindness One foot in and out The last written about Nicole is that she is deeply religious and married I wonder if she has unwavering truth and belief about that love as she did in her dreamy worlds at the age of ninteen Probably I can t respect any view that pretends what one person was to one person is how they are all to everyone else Like I said, this is my kind of book exactly I have my doubts about what some of them say, though The Executioner s Song doesn t purport all of its stories as fact It s like being somewhere yourself and deciding if you can trust your own memories or not Like I don t believe that April was thinking of Nicole and didn t fuck Gary when he took her around for his crime spree and one of the murders she was waiting in the car He also took her to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest That killed me the first time when he ruined the movie for everybody else He went to the same nuthouse and even saw the film filmed from his prison window, or so he claimed April had already been dumped by her sister s first husband Gary would play chicken and lose It comes out that he never killed anybody else on release he had bragging rights to killing a black inmate , or homosexuality he made out a couple of times with pretty boys Fucked one pretty one It didn t do anything for him Right He d lose trust game but Gary wouldn t keep lying Inbetween poses there d be evidence of the truth I don t know, I found that to be fascinating You can tell a lot about people by what they think you want to hear I had the feeling from Gary that it was from talking to himself for so long, perhaps than the kid s wish to shock adults He put on those poses for himself Does it get alone than life in prison Was he a failure because he couldn t know how to live outside of it Their love letters were both ridiculous as any teenagers in love they were very much teenagers would be Self serving especially for Gary His true selfishness came through in his manipulation of Nicole to kill herself so no one else could ever have her but him He didn t know Nicole, then, if he thought she wouldn t be with any other men Talking in the dark and building up truth out of desires, hopes and a big fuck you to everything else life, for one Too long in prison of loneliness But they were so much the same in the playing chicken in that staring contest and the truth coming back that I can t help feel that some of it was a kind of love The pictures might have some auras of bad spirits around them All of the bullets from all of the firing squads in Utah wouldn t penetrate the bad feelings, the build up and frustration Impatience for something to happen I think it made sense that Gil did any of the things he did It was that keeping things away like a pee dance to ward off evil It wasn t that he was stupid and didn t know where he d end up He would get tired and would want to die I didn t need to read the book or know anything about Gary Gil to understand why he wanted to die It wasn t guilt Self hate that has to do with how you feel about yourself than what others feel about you I think that it was slithering towards the light at the end of the tunnel and the worm is blind and can t see which way out of the picture If ghosts are created in the atmosphere when something really horrific happens in a spiritual kind of sense like Star Wars when all of the voices cried out together after they snuffed it at the long hands of the empire I think maybe it is like worm holes are created in whatever living and breathing sense there might be of morality, spirituality and humanity Worm holes for putting a fourteen year old kid in prison Gil was not born a murderer and keeping him there Something I ask people a lot when they get on their high horses about other peoples lives What if one of those times they went out drinking and driving they killed someone Or their innocent high school hijinks of fake ids happened post 911 when having a fake id is a federal crime Mandatory sentences, making an example of someone Worm holes that are bigger than the world Could you slither out I tend to get depressed and stew in hopelessness than getting angry but that one really does me When people don t care about stuff like that Worm holes that they used a firing squad because they wanted blood shed Worm holes of killing two men because they were there Worm holes of punishing a family the ending of Gary s mom Bessie sitting at her window despite death threats, maybe because of like a dare, from the public Shit Worm holes of Gary s trying to control Nicole and all of the young girls who wrote to him in prison because he was just the neatest thing since government cheese or the invention of tampons A LOT of young women were attracted to him Yikes They were like Nicole loving what they couldn t love about themselves in another person blind and slitheringly lost Worm holes of abuse begetting abuse Will the 24 7 prison lights ever go off enough to shed some light How does it fix society to lock away and forget until its time to bounce bullet holes off the bad spirits Whether one believes that they have long underwear protecting them in their lives, or reincarnation like Gil believed, I think that Norman Mailer s The Executioner s Song does deserve to be a classic grumble For the pictures, and the staring and the chicken and the trust game when you don t know if someone even caught you, and telling the truth The lights are still burning Worm holes don t go away if you remain blind If I were to listen as well as burn my retinas I d hear Stewart Copeland there rocking the short shorts and the drums It s skins to skin Andy Summers has one eye on Sting s leanings towards sentimentality someone removed his stinger Probably fell off after hours of tantric sex and the other on his pocket where Robert Fripp s phone number is safely tucked away Sting s distinctive voice that seems to say, Hey, I m Sting says to Bring on the Night I couldn t stand another hour of daylight I d listen to The Police s song about Gil in the dark when I was a thirteen year old fan I had the videos, the books My first concert, my first tape, my first cd, my first record I wanted to die too I d try to stay awake as long as possible because at night I could finally be alone Hey, don t make fun of me If it weren t for Sting I d not have discovered Dennis Potter either That was another branch of sky reaching beauty on my ugly tree with roots in the down and dirty of bad taste Hey I was with Andy We hated the sap Does this make you laugh One of Gil s favorite stories is about giving Fungoo the kinda retarded and retardedly trusting inmate a tattoo on the back of his neck The tattoo is of a penis Fungoo comes back upset because his parents are coming to visit and could Gary please change it to a snake or something He doesn t trust anyone else to do it Gary makes it a three headed penis He couldn t resist I laughed Maybe that s why I liked this book so much It s the dark parts of yourself you hope no one hears loneliness of bad spirits and hoping to live another day for what I loved it because it didn t pretend It s why I kinda love Nicole, bad parts and all Pictures tell a story they don t capture the soul into one thing Tommy Lee Jones wrinkled like a hounddog Damn, no I haven t seen this yet It s on netflix streaming so soon I m sad to have finished this book But I doubt the movie is this good It will probably be the self serving mirror image and not the daring to show yourself kinda mirror staring.


  4. says:

    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 gut driven as it is reasoned Having read this book, working for the government, seeing bureaucracy in motion, I have to say that I have little faith in the state s objectivity, its ability to decide a man s life Many elements of the Gil execution are horrifying And I used to be pro death penalty, before I read about it in practice, because I believe that people like Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, and Tiny Davis have perpetrated some true evil and should permanently lose their freedom But, do we have the right to kill them as the anti death penalty coalition in this book asks to show that killing is wrong I don t know Anything but a yes, absolutely answer to that question is a working no it is too weighty an issue to say ehgo ahead As far as the justice served, I don t understand how killing someone especially one, two, multiple years after the crime is supposed to assuage anything for the victim s family So, the book It s hopeless and profoundly depressing, not just in Gary s death but in the lives of its main characters They are married and divorced way too young, sexually violated, mentally ill, chronically poor For the first third of the book, Gary s let out of prison on robbery charges, goes to live with relatives who put faith in his rehabilitation and try to set him up with jobs and a place to live Then he meets this girl, Nicole She s something like 15 years younger than him They have this obsessive, mostly sexual relationship and then she leaves him and he kills a couple people to keep from killing her Then when he s on trial in prison waiting to die, she comes back and falls for him harder than ever A great chunk of the book is the sexy, misspelled, uncannily teenage love letters they write back and forth You see why it s such a marketable story, why media outlets competed hard for the rights to it.Oh yeah a good portion of the book is about the media too It is the least interesting part of the book, unless you like watching people with tragic lives get further exploited.The Executioner s Song is a feat It is not pleasant but it is an overlook to the way some people s real lives happen to work out, by luck, decision or both Mailer s writing lacks that technicolor sensation of fictionalized accounts of real people it is a long drive on a scenery free road on an overcast day, no neatly packaged endings with grand lessons learned but a fade away Some exasperation I do wonder what Nicole Baker is up to today, how frequently she thinks of Gary still She compels me, just as she compelled everyone else.


  5. says:

    Finished after three years and three copies Totally worth the thousand pages of time, even with all the gaps and hassle.


  6. says:

    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 Gil 1940 1977 had spent half of his life in jail when he was paroled crime robbery in 1976 at the age of 36 He tried all sort of jobs while living with his uncle Vern Domico However, as his cousin Brenda commented when Gil encountered all sorts of many problems while working, he was locked up when he was supposed to be learning about how to earn a decent living So, the disillusioned Gil, confused on how to live outside the prison, turned to booze, drugs and ways, illegal as they were, he knew on how to escape from the reality of a bigger prison called life He fell in love with an 18 y o sexy teenager Nicole and the love turned to obsession When Nicole left him, Gil killed Nicole s new boyfriend then afterwards, on the same night, killed a man he had not even met before This somehow summarizes the first half of the book I liked the story because of its readability, its call for a reform in the US penal laws in fact according to Wiki, this case triggered a nationwide debate on death penalty upon this book s release and Mailer s crystal clear and emphatic characterizations Had the book ended here, it would have gotten 4 stars from me.The second half of the book is not as effective as the first half It tells, basically, the aftermath of Gil s conviction death A big part of this second half is spent on negotiations for the film right to turn Gil s life into a movie, the repeated appeal the Stay resulting to several postponements of the execution and the eternal love between Gary Gil and Nicole that reminded me of Romeo and Juliet because at one point, they both took drugs as they attempted a double suicide Aside from the last one and Gil s interactions with his family, his mother Bessie and his youngest brother Mikal half of the book is utterly boring Not only it is anti climactic but it is too detailed on things that I am not interesting for me My interest only got up again when Gil was finally killed but that was only discussed in the last two parts and they were not able to bring back the emotional impact that this book was able to do in its first half.Overall, a good book to know how the legal criminal system in the US worked in the 70s Compared to our here in the Philippines, my reading buddy explained to me that they have a jury system there and the judge s role is just that of a facilitator There is also this legal procedure called Next Friend She also refresh my mind on the meaning of Writs of Mandamus and Certiorari Two writs that were repeatedly mentioned in the second half.Prior to this book, I used to be unaffected whenever I heard people getting death penalty Example was when Leo Echagaray 1960 1999 was executed by lethal injection here in the Philippines after 23 years that the death penalty was removed from the Philippine law When he was executed, I told myself What kind of father is he He raped his own daughter so he deserves death It s was very easy for me to say that.Now, I would not be very quick to say so Just like Truman Capote s In Cold Blood, this book is also an eye opener.


  7. says:

    GARY MARK GILLMORE IS DEADThis book is a faboulas account of Gary Mark Gill and those who shaped his life Gary was a thief from the beginning and served over half his life in prison Coming out of prison as a thirtyfive year old man, not knowing how to work, cary on relationships, or do any of the day to day tasks we all face, Gary kills two people This decision gets him the firing squad in Utah While he is on death row many family members and lawers as well as the press are trying to stay the execution which was much against Gary s wishes He thought that getting executed would earn him absolution He attempts, with his lover Nicole, to commit suicide twice to no avail I recommend everyone reads this book O and by the way it is a true story Enjoy and Be Blessed Diamond


  8. says:

    This is a good book, but it s even better if you re from the area where it takes place I still have family in Spanish Fork, Utah, where Nicole and Gary lived, and have had cousins who were, and, odds are will be again, inmates at the prison in Point of the Mountain, where Gary was executed in 1978 Even now I am nestled halfway between the truecrime locales of the Hi Fi murders in Ogden, Utah whose co perpetrator Dale Pierre plays an inadvertent role in EXECUTIONER S SONG , and the high school where Ted Bundy abducted Debby Kent in Bountiful, Utah, where even to this day kids see a ghostly VW bug in the back parking lot Grim stuff But I mention all this lay of the land to say there s one thing Mailer gets exactly right, from an insider s perspective, and that s the speech rhythms of Utahns In part one of this book, called WESTERN VOICES, Mailer is giving us a tour of the place and it s inhabitants, and all the while I was reading I kept getting these flutters of nostalgia through my chest at the way people spoke and interacted with each other Exactly like my childhood Mailer intended for us to identify with even the minor characters, which is why he gave them all such liveliness, awareness, even if they played almost no role in the overall picture Since the act of reading is an intensely personal experience, it just added to the experience to see it all in my mind as the book unfurled This is my second attempt at this long book and to finish it was worth it.


  9. says:

    What a book Mind numbingly good An intellectual grand slam


  10. says:

    This was my third attempt at reading The Executioner s Song I had given up at around 600 pages the first time And I could read no than 150 pages the second time The reason on both occasions was the length of the novel it is than a 1000 pages long This is what Bukowski wrote about Mailer God, he just writes on and on There s no force, no humor I don t understand it Just a pushing out of the word, any word, anything This quote holds true for some portions of The Executioner s Song , especially the second part of the novel The book is about a real life character called Gary Gil who decided to not defend himself in a murder trial In fact, he asked for his own execution, twice tried to commit suicide while in jail and wrote abusive letters to organizations that attempted to save him from the death penalty The first part of the book called Western Voices is about how Gil tries to settle back into normal life within the predominantly Mormon community in Utah, when he is on parole at the age of 35 By the time he was 35, Gil had spent most of his life in jail Gil finds it hard to fit back into society despite the mother s side of his family trying to help him with a place to stay and job at his uncle Vern Damico s shoe repair shop But an intense and troubled love affair with Nicole, a divorced woman half his age, arouses Gil s criminal instincts once again Mailer describes the strict and homogeneous Mormon society of Utah through the way the people over there perceive and look at Gil, the ex con The book is not written in first or second person But we get to see Gil through the eyes of his family, his girlfriend, his work mates and other people who come in touch with him Mailer writes simple sentences that are often candid and conversational in tone The scenes are almost entirely devoid of any sort of narrative punctuation Mailer the writer takes a backseat in the first half of the novel It is only in the second part of the novel that he begins to reveal his prejudices A few months ago, I had asked on a book forum about novels with characters that live in trailers I was always fascinated by people who lived that way Well, part one of this book is probably the ultimate book about the folk who live in trailers and the whole redneck lifestyle The second part of the novel is about Gil s trial, his life in prison, the suicide pact with Nicole, the machinations between various journalists like the hippy journalist and lawyer Dennis Boaz who is later outmaneuvered by Lawrence Schiller to write Gil s story, the human rights activists who tried to prevent his execution and the conservative Mormon lawyers who try to enforce it This is the less interesting part of the novel and one that I found really tough to get through Mailer gets into minute details about financial transactions, legal jargon and intimate details about fringe characters who were not that interesting to me However, there is a very entertaining bit about a cell mate and undercover agent Richard Gibbs who tries to sell a story to the newspapers about his time with Gil He ends up having a terrible accident The second part also contains the poignant story of Gil s mother Bessie who lives alone in a trailer She believes that something in a haunted house they occupied as a family during Gil s childhood entered him and this entity is what forced Gil to commit these murders There are quite a few references to the devil in this novel During an evening with Gil, Nicole senses an entity hovering around him and asks him if he is the devil Gil tells her that an ex jail mate had asked him the same question Gil s execution and the subsequent taking apart of his body in the mortuary are quite shocking to read And also very sad Gil s thoughts in part two of the novel is revealed through his letters to Nicole and the interviews with his lawyers and journalists Mailer also uses newspaper clippings to explain media and public perception about Gil s trial and execution I wrote earlier that the book is devoid of narrative punctuation There is none of the figurative language that is a feature of other Norman Mailer novels But as someone who has read quite a few of Mailer s novels, it was quite evident to me that Mailer sympathized and even identified with Gil s plight Mailer once said that society was designed to drive men deep into homosexuality and onanism Gil s refusal to end up as a mediocrity in jail he hates the noisiness of his fellow inmates and enters a failed suicide pact with Nicole is clearly admired by Mailer This is from an interview where Mailer speaks about Gil He Gary Gil understands the fundamental thing that so few people understand it s important to save your soul than to live and feel it be slowly extinguished As another reviewer on Goodreads pointed out, Mailer dedicates less than 20 pages of his 1024 page tome to Gil s victims Mailer s prejudices are indicated by the things that he leaves out in the novel and the space that he gives to others.

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