Lipton’s Journal/December 17, 1954/58
My characters in The Deer Park are called “unsympathetic” by everyone. And how unsympathetic they must be to the liberal pluralist who represents unhappily the best among editors. For after all, none of my characters go to to Parent Teachers Meetings, they are not responsible members of the community, they do not debate whether their little good actions will make the world a little better. They are all psychopaths and saints and people torn between the two, and they wrestle for their souls in a most terrible society, and almost always lose them. Certainly, it is a depressing book, but they are not unsympathetic, my characters. They are souls in torment, and The Deer Park is a journey through torment. It would be a better book, a greater book, if the journey were even more terrible. I held back on Marion Faye.
- Mailer’s anti-hero for a post-Hiroshima world in The Deer Park, Faye (son of Dorothea O’Faye, a former singer who presides over a drunken salon in Desert D’Or, Mailer’s name for Palm Springs, California), is the archetypal hipster. A bisexual pimp and drug dealer, he is the novel’s dark conscience, the polar opposite of Charles Eitel. Mailer planned to use Faye as a centripetal character in the seven novels that he planned and failed to write as sequels to The Deer Park.