JACK AND NORMAN; the story of an author & his apprentice

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Now, Jerome is tackling a new story titled, Jack and Norman: a State Raised Convict and the Legacy of Norman Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song”. So far it has received extensive praise in the book trade, along with glowing coverage in Vanity Fair, New Republic, Huffington Post, the Daily Beast and other media outlets.

JACK AND NORMAN provides a look into one of the most interesting moments in New York Intelligentsia history. Through Loving’s guidance, readers explore the tale surrounding two of the most infamous books of the past fifty years; a story which has gone untold until now.

The biographical work centers on Norman Mailer’s correspondence with Jack Henry Abbott, Federal Prisoner 87098-132. It was at this time that Mailer was writing The Executioner’s Song about the condemned killer Gary Gilmore. After some time writing each other, Abbott was able to convince Mailer of his ability as a writer, and that he deserved another shot at freedom. After letters of support from Mailer and other literary elites, Abbott was released on parole in 1981. Abbott soon became the center of the New York literary community, as he worked on his own book titled: In the Belly of the Beast.

This freedom however, was short lived. A day before the New York Times released a rave review of his book, Abbott murdered a New York City waiter and fled to Mexico. Abbott killed within six weeks of his release from prison, much like that of Gary Gilmore in Mailer’s novel. It is a fascinating story, and a tragedy that calls into question the romantic theory of the artist whose rare talent renders the writer beyond the reach of convention.

About the Author
JEROME LOVING, Distinguished Professor of English at Texas A&M, is the author of a number of biographies and critical studies in American literature, including “Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself” (1999), “The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser” (2005), and “Mark Twain: The Adventures of Samuel L. Clemens” (2010), all published by the University of California Press. He has been a Fulbright scholar in the former Soviet Union and in France, where he also taught as a visiting professor at the Sorbonne. His fellowships include a Guggenheim and a “We the People” grant from the Nation.

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