IN CONVERSATION . . .With Norman Mailer

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Daniel Asa Rose spoke with Norman Mailer at his home in Provincetown, Mass.

In your new book, "The Castle in the Forest," the relationship between young Adi (Adolf Hitler) and his father is very fraught -- more moving than I expected it to be.

I've been thinking about how many of my books have that recurring theme. My relationship with my father was very interesting. Not hostile, but never near. I couldn't reach him. He was an exceptionally complex man. He was very proud of me after "The Naked and the Dead," which he must have read 10 times.

Did he understand it?

Oh yeah.

So you were able to communicate on that very deep level?

Yeah, he didn't go in for long speeches, but he would look at me and say, "This is good."

You demonize Hitler here, quite literally -- the demon narrator is there at the conception. Aren't you thereby letting mankind off the hook?

It seems to me there have been two exceptional births in human history: Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler. Hitler is the devil's answer to Jesus Christ.

You like making large statements, don't you?

Drives wives crazy.

I can only imagine.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company