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Tough Guys Don't Dance [Paperback]

Norman Mailer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Nov 1992

Tim Madden, an unsuccessful writer with a penchant for nicotine, alcohol and blondes with money, struggles towards consciousness twenty-four days and nights after his wide has left him. He has a bad case of alcohol amnesia, a fresh and throbbing tattoo and a car drenched in blood. Just to make his hangover complete, Provincetown's Chief of Police would like a quiet word...

So begins Madden's disquieting journey into the dark recesses of America's psyche.

TOUGH GUYS DON'T DANCE is Norman Mailer at his tough, raw and uncompromising best. And Madden's tormented efforts to reconstruct the missing hours of a terrible evening turn, inevitably into fragments of the American Nightmare.

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Tough Guys Don't Dance + The Fight (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (26 Nov 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349103275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349103273
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


** 'Hypnotic...thrilling. (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

** 'Mailer writes like an angel- a master of small surprises that may be precursors of seismic shocks. (LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS, CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

** 'Think of it as a novel by Dashiell Hammett and transpose it into Mailer's style. (NEW YORK TIMES)

About the Author

After graduating from Harvard Norman Mailer served in the South Pacific during World War II. He published his first book in 1948 and won the Pulitzer Price twice for THE ARMIES OF THE NIGHT and THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Runs out of steam 7 Mar 2014
By B J M
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Starts with some brilliant prose and is quite enthralling and intriguing for a while. Unfortunately, towards the end there is the sense Mailer runs out of steam and does not know how to finish the book. As a result it seems to tail off very suddenly and improbably with an end that does not match the power of the opening ( as with The Naked and the Dead) Made more enjoyable for me having been to Provincetown so I could visualise where he was talking about. Enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Pleasure. 1 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was the first time I'd read a Norman Mailer novel and the first time in many years that I have managed to complete an entire book within a day.

There is so much confident, energetic writing in Mailer's work that reading this story is probably akin to the exhilaration felt in the back seat of a low-flying fighter jet moving at supersonic speed as it traverses the twists and turns of a Welsh valley.

A great read, in other words, and few will fail to enjoy the humour that is subtly embroidered with great craft by the author while maintaining both the pace and credibility of the storyline.

I've since purchased another Mailer novel and although I've yet to start reading it, buying it at all on the basis of this story is evidence enough for me that I won't be disappointed by it.

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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex and severed heads at the seaside 3 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This is the first Norman Mailer I've read, and I am impressed. You can almost smell the sea of Mailer's ghostly, winter Provincetown. I became caught up in the protagonist's horrible situation, so that when I occasionally had to put the book down, I was that man. This might well not be one of Mailer's best reads, but if you like a scary, dirty, human read, then this is it.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough, hard-boiled, brilliance 22 Mar 2007
Norman Mailer is a bit of an enigma; I have read several of his books, "the Fight", "Naked and the Dead", "Harlot's Ghost" and he cannot be said to have ever written consistently in an particular genre. In this he tries his hand at the hard-boiled, no-detail-missing, James Ellroy style thriller. This is good stuff by any standard. There is an overwhelming seediness throughout the whole book; no character has any qualms about philandering , murdering, drug-taking or disposing of the bodies. As a one-time visitor to Provincetown I never would have guessed that, beneath the surface, the place was such a Soddom and Gommorah style cesspit! The characterisation and exageration work, however; the dialogue is gritty and very rarely feels forced even though the wisecracks are up there with David Mamet's best. This is definitely a success and even though, as far as I am aware this is Mailer's only thriller it doesn't feel like he is indulging himself with a vanity project (such as Martin Amis's attempted police thriller "Night Train").

Great book and although written in a very elaborate style for the genre, a compulsive read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding. 4 Sep 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So, you wake up with a bitch of a hangover, but realise your arm throbs worse than your head. You take a look and see a new tattoo - bearing the name of a female you don't know - still weeping blood. Your jalopy - a Porche, bought by your rich, but estranged, wife - is covered in blood also. Blood that aint yours.

What's your first move on such a morning?

All the good stuff is in here: murder, broads, drugs, violence, sex, booze, more sex (including talk of an inter-racial bi-sexual threesome), financial double-dealing, cheating, doping, tripping and more sex and violence.

It's a shame the damn book isn't twice the size!

Fantastic. Buy it now.
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