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Ancient Evenings [Mass Market Paperback]

Norman Mailer
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 22 1988
Ancient Evenings, a dazzlingly rich, deeply evocative novel, recreates the long-lost civilisation of Ancient Egypt. Mailer breathes life into the figures of that era; the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Rameses and his wife, Queen Nefertiti; Menenhetet, their creature, lover and victim; and the gods and mortals that surround them in intimate and telepathic communion. His hero, three times reincarnated during the novel, moves in the bright sunlight of white temples, in the exquisite gardens of the royal harem, along the majestic flow of the Nile and in the terrifying clash of battle. An outstanding work of creative imagination, Ancient Evenings displays Mailer's obsession with magic, violence and eroticism and lives on in the mind long after the last page has been turned.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Review

Makes a miraculous present of of age-deep memories, bringing to life the rhythms, the images, the sensuousness of lost time New York TIMES Lust, sensuous, sexual beyond gender. A progressive revelation of mysteries, sacred and profane Vogue Spellbinding...stunning Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Norman Mailer is the National Book Award and Pulitzter Prize winning author, a film director and political activist. He died in November 2007. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Publishers Weekly was quoted regarding Mailer's THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON: "...[it's] penetration into Jesus's human heart rivals Dostoyevsky for depth and insight. Its recreation of the world through which Jesus walked is as real as blood. Ultimately, Mailer convinces, more than any writer before him, that for Jesus the man it could have been just like this; and that is, in itself, some sort of literary miracle."I am barely through half of this eight hundred odd page masterwork. Yet I am already amazed by Mailer's ability to penetrate the human heart of the civilization of the spiritual, highly advanced, mysterious Ancient Egypt with ANCIENT EVENINGS.
Mailer seeminngly captures Egypt during a period that could be easily considered antithetically decadent to its many periods of great glory like the First Dynasty's uniting of the "The Two Lands," the Pyramid Age, the 12th Dynasty or the famous 18th, with Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and King Tut. Or, heartbreakingly enough for romantic Egyptophiles like myself, he could be capturing how everyday Egypt, underneath the pomp and circumstance of the persepective of an Egyptologist or the Kingly/Pharonic court ritual (much like Rome millenia later) actually was.
Mailer has always been accused of personalizing himself too much in his work, and the evidence of twentieth century left-of-center White American bohemian life and culture, as well as its self-projected/narcississtic perspective on ancient Egyptian culture, does at times bleed through. African people South of Egypt are referred to in the novel as Negroes or Blacks.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Full of characters who eat the excrement, flesh or [body parts] of a variety of animals in order to gain the wisdom and strength that they offer, Ancient Evenings journeys a path into a world of Ancient Egypt that I have never known. Nor frankly, for that matter, care to. Yet, Mailer's portrait of Rameses II, Usermare as he is known is this work, is incredible. Divine and human, Horus and Set are woven so well into the fabric of of this pharoah's character that his struggle to maintain harmony between these two opposing forces alone is worth wading through the rest of the book. My faith in Ancient Egypt as a whole and its actual traditions is restored by Mailer, however, by the conclusion of this work but not before I have been thoroughly disgusted by a variety of acts descibed by the protagonist Menehetet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer Nov. 7 2003
Format:Paperback
Norman Mailer, you say. But this is not what one would expect from Mr. Mailer. This is one novel, 2 novellas and a myth in one book about Ancient Egypt. The first part is a surreal scene which introduces us to the Egyptian concept of 'soul'. In the Judeo-Christian world view we have 'a' soul: the Egyptians had many, including the ba and ka to name two. The next is a wonderful retelling of the Osiris myth. The middle half of this large book is the story of Ramesses the Great's military expedition against the Hittites told by his charioteer. (This may be the section of the book most identified as 'Mailer'.) The last part is a dreamy view of life among the royals of ancient Egypt. A great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Stuff! Feb. 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read this book over and over again. Every time I read it, something new pops up! This story(s) are beautifully put together and the entire thing is fabtastic! I would only recommend this book to adult readers, alot of the content is
Very graphic!
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3.0 out of 5 stars bien documentado, pero no lleva a ningun sitio July 9 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
este libro, enorrrrrrrrrrrrrrme es interesante y esta muy bien documentado, tambien esta lleno de malas palabras pero leyendo a mailer uno se acostumbra. uno aprende varias cosas sobre la vida faraonica, aunque hay que investigar, pues uno no sabe cuando es imaginacion y cuando es realidad documentada. lo que pasa con este libro, que en si no es un fallo es que al terminar, parece que solo se han leido todas esas paginas para nada, no sientes emocion, ni ardor nio catarsis ni nada es como ver un programa tonto, solo has pasado el rato.
LUIS MENDEZ crazzyteacher@hotmail.com
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2.0 out of 5 stars A long way from Mailer's best May 16 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There are moments of brilliance in this book, but they're few and far between. This is the third Mailer book I've read, after The Naked And The Dead and The Fight. Both, in their different ways, utterly brilliant. This book just goes on interminably and you get the impression Mailer just gets sick of it, wraps things up quickly and gets out of there. If you can make it that far though, the last few pages are great!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable May 2 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I suppose this may not be Pulitzer material, but I have to admit that it's certainly quite entertaining. Plus, I found the issues introduced and employed in the book (e.g., reincarnation, rivalry in interpersonal relationships) to be well developed, and at times, fascinating. I read the book about 11 years ago, and while I'd forgotten who wrote it, I certainly didn't forget the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't sure at first... March 13 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked this book up used and had trouble to start with - the first 25 pages or so were the equivalent of wading through mud. After reading the reviews here I decided I'd plow through the rest of it or die trying. Fortunately, the writing evened out and became quite casual reading.
It's a weird book to say the least and not like anything I've read (mostly classics, sci-fi and scientific) however it was thoroughly fascinating at the same time. It didn't matter what was going on in the story: the writing was powerful, the thoughts and images of the story clearly conveyed in writing. Very few books can put a picture in your head like this one can.
While the sexual exploits were certainly entertaining (and quite humorous at times) they - like everything in the book - happened for a reason, illustrating the power struggles and state of the mind quite lucidly as the characters interacted with each other.
This book isn't for everyone, but those able to read it cover to cover will think about the book and characters long after finishing it - the mark of any good book as far as I'm concerned.
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