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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 November 2007
I read this book when it was first published over 20 years ago. Not an easy read, not many of Mailer's books are, but thought provoking and interesting in the extreme. It was news of Norman Mailer's death that made me reach to the top of the bookcase and re-read my well worn copy.

For anyone interested in Egyptology, the book is a must even though it is a work of fiction. There are wonderful and for me memorable parts in the book. The way Mailer brings the reader into the depths and darkness of an Egyptian tomb, eventually for them to realise that the person narrating the tale is in fact the dead pharaoh, who himself has just had a rude awakening when he realises that he is no longer among the living and that his soul is now faced with all the shades and visitations of the undead that his beliefs have taught him throughout his lifetime.

The book shows in great detail the pageantry and might of the Egypt of that period. It shows the love of a family and also the sorrow that even the most lowly of families must experience. If this was not how Egypt really was, then it is how it should have been. For anyone who missed it first time around it is a must read.
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on 7 August 1999
It has taken me a long time to get through this book - don't expect it to be a light bedtime read! What you will get though is a colourful, absorbing, exciting, well-written (as always for Mailer), flowing and at times very graphic account of the life of the Egytian Pharoahs of around three thousand years ago. Mailer really makes you enter the world he is writing about. This is an unforgettable read.
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on 2 September 2011
Ancient Evenings is an astonishing achievement of creative imagination. For most people, ancient Egypt is an enigma, so foreign to our own cultural frame of reference that we tend to shrug and just enjoy the pyramids, but somehow Mailer conjures it all up as though he hadn't just been there, but been born there. A word of warning: the first 100 pages or so are hard going, basically a crash course in Egyptian mythology. If you lose patience, just skip forward to where the action starts.
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on 16 April 2008
Definitely not for the average airport purchaser! I don't think its ever taken me longer to get through a book. The story of an an ancient Egyptian who is reincarnated across three lifetimes, the language used is both graphic and, possibly, as close to an authentic ancient Egyptian voice that you are likely to find. Trailed in the blurb on the back as a book set to change the way novels are written, its easy to see why this didn't happen - it is simply too difficult for the average reader to cope with. I have never come across a book that demands such concentration of the reader. Brilliant, breathtaking and damned hard work - no wonder it remains virtually unknown.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 December 2007
I read this book when it was first published over 20 years ago. Not an easy read, not many of Mailer's books are, but thought provoking and interesting in the extreme. It was news of Norman Mailer's death that made me reach to the top of the bookcase and re-read my well worn copy.

For anyone interested in Egyptology, the book is a must even though it is a work of fiction. There are wonderful and for me memorable parts in the book. The way Mailer brings the reader into the depths and darkness of an Egyptian tomb, eventually for them to realise that the person narrating the tale is in fact the dead pharaoh, who himself has just had a rude awakening when he realises that he is no longer among the living and that his soul is now faced with all the shades and visitations of the undead that his beliefs have taught him throughout his lifetime.

The book shows in great detail the pageantry and might of the Egypt of that period. It shows the love of a family and also the sorrow that even the most lowly of families must experience. If this was not how Egypt really was, then it is how it should have been. For anyone who missed it first time around it is a must read.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I read this book when it was first published over 20 years ago. Not an easy read, not many of Mailer's books are, but thought provoking and interesting in the extreme. It was news of Norman Mailer's death that made me reach to the top of the bookcase and re-read my well worn copy.

For anyone interested in Egyptology, the book is a must even though it is a work of fiction. There are wonderful and for me memorable parts in the book. The way Mailer brings the reader into the depths and darkness of an Egyptian tomb, eventually for them to realise that the person narrating the tale is in fact the dead pharaoh, who himself has just had a rude awakening when he realises that he is no longer among the living and that his soul is now faced with all the shades and visitations of the undead that his beliefs have taught him throughout his lifetime.

The book shows in great detail the pageantry and might of the Egypt of that period. It shows the love of a family and also the sorrow that even the most lowly of families must experience. If this was not how Egypt really was, then it is how it should have been. For anyone who missed it first time around it is a must read.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I read this book when it was first published over 20 years ago. Not an easy read, not many of Mailer's books are, but thought provoking and interesting in the extreme. It was news of Norman Mailer's death that made me reach to the top of the bookcase and re-read my well worn copy.

For anyone interested in Egyptology, the book is a must even though it is a work of fiction. There are wonderful and for me memorable parts in the book. The way Mailer brings the reader into the depths and darkness of an Egyptian tomb, eventually for them to realise that the person narrating the tale is in fact the dead pharaoh, who himself has just had a rude awakening when he realises that he is no longer among the living and that his soul is now faced with all the shades and visitations of the undead that his beliefs have taught him throughout his lifetime.

The book shows in great detail the pageantry and might of the Egypt of that period. It shows the love of a family and also the sorrow that even the most lowly of families must experience. If this was not how Egypt really was, then it is how it should have been. For anyone who missed it first time around it is a must read.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 October 2015
This book has taken me a long time to get through -- about three months, with other shorter books read in between. It's a stimulating and engaging read, despite its lengthiness. Mailer is always a wordy writer (for some, he's a windbag), but his style depends on it. I was so heady with Egyptological detail that reading this book prompted further readings in Ancient Egypt, and i was impressed to see that Mailer's detailing is seemingly accurate, the research towards which perhaps made the writing of it even more time-consuming for him (he wrote it over the course of a decade). I was completely enveloped in the world he creates. Some of the sections are quite horrible, including the war sections, and some of the bodily dramas he narrates (his relation to sex and families -- and sex in families -- is quite monstrous at times, but often wonderfully so). Mailer has been critiqued for his misogyny, and there's plenty of questionable sections here in terms of his characterisation of women and their bodies. If you've read a bit of Mailer before, and know what you're in for -- his sexual politics, his style, and his loquaciousness -- this is a great read.
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on 19 August 2015
One of my favourite novels of all time. Well written, immaculately researched and a pleasure to read. I recommend it wholeheartedly. This Kindle version replaces my old paperback copy that I have owned sine the early 80s.
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on 13 September 2013
I had previously read this when it was first published but recently bought a 2nd hand copy via Amazon. If you have some knowledge of Ancient Egypt you will enjoy this fiction even more. It is a most unusual book.
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