Louis and Moos Mailer, September 25, 1966

From Project Mailer
565 Commercial Street
Provincetown, Massachusetts
September 25, 1966

Dear Louis and Moos,

I haven’t written in ages. Please forgive me for not answering your fine letters, but this summer’s been unbelievable. I haven’t worked so hard in years. I got going at a great rate on a new novel and then just about the time I was half way through, everything in the scheme of things diverted me over to an old adaptation of The Deer Park, which I rewrote and changed from a five-hour play to a two-hour play.[1] We did it up here in Provincetown in a theater Beverly helped to start (she is, by the way, a superb actress—woe is me—I’m not used to other talent in the family), and the play turned out well enough to be moved to New York. So we’re going to put it in on Off-Broadway this winter and if all goes well, it might be exciting, indeed. I have some hopes at any rate. As for the rest, all is well. Mother’s recovered completely from the operation, which proved, of course, not to be necessary—when will people finally realize that medicine exists first for the sake of doctors and their beastly hospitals. Cannibals and Christians came out and, to my surprise, received fairly good reviews.[2] If Dad hasn’t taken care of it, I’m going to make certain a copy gets to you.

As for the boys, Michael is all box-office, prima donna, narcissistic, brilliant, spoiled, electric, frighteningly sexy, a complete self-starter, and Steve[3] all attention and reaction and soft smiles and chuckles and fun. They’re going to make a great pair, knock on wood, as my mother would say.

As for the movie, An American Dream, don’t ask. An absolute disaster. My only consolation is that I had nothing to do with the makings of it, except for the tarty action of taking a large sum of money in sale from a large movie studio, for which I had no respect.

Give my best to Basil,[4] Beverly sends love,

Norman Mailer
This page is part of
An American Dream Expanded.


  1. The first stage version of The Deer Park, in two acts, was presented at Act IV, a Provincetown Theater, in August 1966, with Beverly Bentley as Lulu Myers.
  2. Cannibals and Christians, Mailer’s third miscellany, was published by Dial on 29 August 1966.
  3. Beverly gave birth to Stephen McLeod Mailer, their second son, on 10 March 1966.
  4. Basil was the son of Louis and Moos.