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Posted April 30, 2005
Turgid, Pompous, Bloated, Pointless
I'd rather stick a hook up my nose and drag my brains out than have to read this again. There are some novels that sizzle and stimulate like psychical champagne, Ancient Evenings is more like a cement milkshake. Everything else by Mailer that I've read I have enjoyed, and I was amazed by the brilliance of The Naked and the Dead, but Ancient Evenings did not move me at all. Still, other folk seem to dig it, so give it a try if you think you have the stamina.
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Posted December 30, 2000
What's the point? As noted in the synopsis above, it's the story of a man's four reincarnated lives. There's no linear continuity; it jumps around and leaves one with no idea what's going on or what order things are actually transpiring in. Are other lives remembered? Is the character dead and remembering life vividly, or having premonitions of death? Repleat with homoerotic and incestuous fantasies, this is high fantasy meets masturbation in a liberally 'historical' setting. At the end of the book, you wonder why you struggled through something as ponderous as Joyce's Ulysses and twice as thick, for so little payoff. There is no moment that redeems this work, no character that you come to love or hate. Moreover, I don't think there's any moral or transcendental significance...it's just a lot of typing. It's terrible (sorry, Norman).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.