The Gay Man in Norman Mailer’s Life

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Mornings with MailerMornings with Mailer: A Recollection of Friendship
by Dwayne Raymond
Harper Perennial.  352 pages, $13.99

 

WHAT DOES a gay waiter with a soon-to-be transgendered lover have in common with an über-heterosexual writer? Well, as Dwayne Raymond points out in his accomplished memoir Mornings with Mailer, a lot more than one would think. Raymond had given up on writing and was currently a waiter in Provincetown, where the prolific author Norman Mailer (forty books, two Pulitzers, and a National Book Award) had gone to live, when in April 2003 Mailer picked him, after just a few brief encounters, to be his researcher. While Raymond remains puzzled at his selection, the impulsive act is typical of a person who had an astute sensitivity to human nature. When Mailer and I met for the first time in 1975 he told me after just five minutes, “I like you. We will be friends for life.” He kept his word and we were in close contact until his death in November 2007.

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