For many years he remained a monolith. Like his contemporaries Saul Bellow and Gore Vidal, I walked around him, intimidated by the sheer size -- the girth -- of his oeuvre. And so he remains, since The Armies of the Night is the only novel of his that I even attempted to finish. I'll give it another shot in the coming days. In the meantime I'll rue how Mailer never cast a cold eye on the new millenium's dissolving paradigms of masculinity
This 2003 essay has the usual mix of bathos, bullshit ("George W. Bush, who might, if he had been entirely on his own, have made a world-class male model [since he never takes an awkward photograph]" -- whaa?), and blather, as well as pungency. Mailer's truth occasionally coincided with reality.