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Mailer: Memories of a Literary Lion

Author Norman Mailer, who died on Saturday at age 84, is remembered for many enduring works.

First came The Naked and the Dead. Mailer killed the hero more than 100 pages before the end. The war goes on, and the hero is hardly mentioned again.

The author became a literary hero, the winner of two Pulitzer prizes. He made outrageous statements. He emulated his idol Ernest Hemingway by working as a journalist.

Along the way, Mailer witnessed a legendary boxing match in central Africa (the Ali-Frazier "Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire). Before that match, he went running with Muhammad Ali.

They started before dawn. Mailer kept up as long as he could before dropping back. He writes that he was alone on that dark road when he heard the roar of a lion. He wondered if the lion that never got Hemingway had come for Mailer — an "appropriate substitute." Only later did he learn that he was one block away from a zoo.

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