The Executioner's Song

The Executioner's Song

Book - 1979
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The Executioner's Song, Norman Mailer's brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning story of the crimes and punishment of a 20th-century murderer and thief, is what the author calls a "true-life novel." It is a horrifying, sad, scrupulously detailed look at the events leading up to the moment Gary Gilmore was killed by a firing squad in Utah State Prison on January 17, 1977. Based on interviews, records of court proceedings, newspaper stories, and various other documents, it covers the nine months between Gilmore's parole from prison, his final crime, and his execution. The blurring of the distinction between fiction and nonfiction was one of the central developments of postwar American literature, and Mailer's imaginative use of the facts is an extension of his earlier forays into the "new journalism." He re-creates Gillmore's tormented psyche, recounts his crimes, takes in the story of Mormonism and the history of Utah, introduces Uncle Vern, Aunt Ida, victims, cops, cons, guards, lovers, and lawyers. The "Western Voices" of small-town America and the "Eastern Voices" of the journalists and show-biz types who descend on the Gilmore story are fused into a remarkable chorus, amplifying the presence of Gilmore himself, a smart, funny, doomed man - one of the most complex characters in modern letters.
Publisher: Boston, MA : Little, Brown, c1979.
ISBN: 9780316544177
0316544175
9780375700811
0375700811
Characteristics: 1056 p.

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Katrina1979
Jul 05, 2017

This book was absolutely amazing!

CMLibrary_sfetzer May 17, 2016

The Executioner’s Song is perhaps Norman Mailer’s most ambitious work, both in scale and in style. Told in the tone of a journalist presenting only the facts, this “true-life novel” follows Gary Gilmore as he is released from prison, kills two men, and is ultimately executed. Mailer’s immense work spares no details as he documents the disheartening life and death of Gilmore who had been incarcerated for most of his adult existence. At turns heartbreaking, hopeful, depressing, and even grotesque, Mailer manages to capture not only a single human being but a whole community and its myriad residents. Readers who enjoyed Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood but were left wanting more will love Mailer’s masterpiece.

Armdis Aug 26, 2014

Long (1109 pages!), sometimes incomprehensible account of the disturbing life, imprisonment and death of notorious Utah armed robber and killer Gary Gilmore. The pop culture references are somewhat distracting at times, the narrative style can be rather confusing, and I'm reasonably sure that this story could have been told in way less than 1109 pages, but,here it is: Norman Mailer's ultimate salute to his fetishistic obsession with criminals, criminality and penitentiary life. I get the feeling Norman Mailer would gladly have held the inside-out-turned pockets of anybody with a scary enough rap sheet and enough years behind bars. Anyway. it's a decent enough book, if only for the reason you can tell people that you were bad-ass enough to survive this 1109 page killer.

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