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Description de l’éditeur
This is the story of an author and his apprentice. It is the story of literary influence and tragedy. It is also the story of incarceration in America.
Norman Mailer was writing The Executioner’s Song, his novel about condemned killer Gary Gilmore, when he struck up a correspondence with Jack Henry Abbott, Federal Prisoner 87098-132. Over time, Abbott convinced the famous author that he was a talented writer who deserved another chance at freedom. With letters of support from Mailer and other literary elites of the day, Abbott was released on parole in 1981.
With Mailer’s help, Abbott quickly became the literary “it boy” of New York City. But in a shocking turn of events, the day before a rave review of Abbott’s book, In the Belly of the Beast, appeared in The New York Times, Abbott murdered a New York City waiter and fled to Mexico. Eerily, like Gary Gilmore in Mailer’s true-life novel, Abbott killed within six weeks of his release from prison.
Now Jerome Loving explores the history of two of the most infamous books of the past 50 years, a fascinating story that has never before been told.
Norman Mailer always seemed to court controversy in both his writings and his personal life, and now Loving (Walt Whitman) offers an absorbing chronicle of Mailer's infamous relationship with Jack Henry Abbott, Federal Prisoner 87098-132. When Mailer was writing his "true life novel," The Executioner's Song, Abbott struck up a correspondence with the novelist, offering Mailer gritty descriptions of prison life that Mailer used to complete his portrait of what incarceration must have been like for Gary Gilmore, the subject of his book. Part literary criticism, part social commentary, and part true crime story, this riveting book chronicles Abbott's existence as a "state-raised convict" who, as he recounted in his debut book, In the Belly of the Beast, spent most of his life in the dehumanizing prison system. Abbott won his petition for parole thanks in part to Mailer's support, but not long after his release, Abbott murdered Richard Adan, a restaurant manager and aspiring playwright, and was caught and returned to prison. Loving's gripping book offers a page-turning case study of the disturbing character of the American prison system and the fascinating compulsion that can drive writers to seek literary celebrity.