War hero, ex-Congressman, a professor of 'popular but somewhat notorious reputation', television personality and husband of the rich and beautiful Deborah ('a girl who would have been bored by a diamond as big as the Ritz'), Stephen Rojack lived the American Dream. But his enviable life concealed a strange tension, the constant 'itch to jump', and when one day he finally cracks and strangles his luscious wife, he unleashes a personality of undreamt-of ferocity. A wanted murderer, Rojack is suddenly catapulted into an alien world of gangsters, crumbling tenements and downtown bars. Here, he meets Cherry, a small-time singer who ekes out her living in sleazy nightclubs, waiting for a break. She's the woman Rojack falls for, dangerously, desperately, tragically A powerful exploration of one man's quest for depravity, An American Dream shocked the USA on first publication in 1965 with its graphic depictions of sex and violence. One of the key works of twentieth-century American literature, the novel's white-hot prose makes it, for many, Mailer's finest achievement.
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Norman Mailer was born in New Jersey in 1923. He grew up in Brooklyn and entered Harvard University to study engineering when he was only sixteen. During the Second World War, Mailer served in the Philippines, an experience which formed the basis of his famous debut novel, the bestselling The Naked and the Dead. A major figure in post-war American literature, Mailer's other works include Barbary Shore, The Deer Park, Advertisements for Myself, Armies of the Night (for which he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award) and, most recently, The Gospel According to the Son.
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