Louis and Moos Mailer, April 17, 1964

From Project Mailer
142 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn 1, New York
April 17, 1964

Dear Louis and Moos,[1]

Just a quick note to tell you a little about Michael.[2] The work on the serial is really reaching up to its climax now, and I’m in a dozen kinds of trouble, for I have to finish the book in the next five weeks and the last installment has fearful importance attached to it because the book can turn out anywhere from fairly good to very good by the way I end it. At any rate, in the midst of all this, Mikey B. was born, and an alert little devil he is, very sharp-eyed and lively he is, like a squirrel, with a head that now is very much like mine in shape—nothing to brag about, but since he was born with a cranium as long and thin as a banana, we consider this a blessed improvement. In any event he looks more like his mother than like me. He’s got her eyes and nose, her lower lip and chin. Which are, in turn, almond-shaped, uptipped, tremulous, and pointed. But his ears and upper lip belong to me, the ears quite large, but disposed benevolently close to the head. The upper lip is pure Mailer. Thin, as bowed as Cupid’s bow, and the channel in his upper lip is deep and long. He eats all the time, is passing fond of his mother, and glares at me. I’m obviously the opposition. And I suspect he’s planning (with the aid of his four sisters) to pull off a palace coup in the next ten years. As for the rest, he’s got a barrel chest, very active somewhat skinny legs, quick-moving arms, quiet red-gold hair (not much), and a fabulous twig, which persists, despite all odds, at remaining in a state of constant erection. It must be all the women he’s surrounded with. Last, he looks to be a good boxer. The other day I tapped him with three left hooks, and before I could land a fourth, he brought up his right to cover his chin. Add to this that he has a low but nonetheless noble brow, a fifty-year-old air of British elegance and looks disconcertingly at times like Ike or Winston Churchill. (At other times he just goes back to looking like a squirrel.) His toes? Oh god, I haven’t looked at them yet.

Love to you, my dears, and I’ll send pictures so soon as we get a good one, which will probably not be until the summer.

This page is part of
An American Dream Expanded.


  1. The late Louis Mailer was the brother of Mailer’s father, Isaac Barnett “Barney” Mailer. He and his wife Moos lived in South Africa but visited the U.S. several times.
  2. Beverly gave birth to Michael Burks Mailer, Mailer’s first son, on 17 March 1964.