An American Dream

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Novel by Norman Mailer, published in 1965.

Stephen Richards Rojack, a former congressman from New York, friend of Jack Kennedy, World War II hero, and television star, a “personality … built upon a void,” is torn between an urge to suicide and a desire to see Deborah Kelly, the society heiress wife from whom he has long been separated, although she remains “the armature of [his] ego.” His nighttime visit to Deborah leads to a quarrel; he strangles her, and after making love to her maid he throws Deborah's body out of her apartment window, telling the police who take him into custody that she committed suicide. Her father, Oswald Kelly, arranges Rojack's release and he continues his dark night of adventure, including an attack upon Shago Martin, a black jazz singer patronized by Deborah, a brief romantic interlude with Cherry, an appealing blonde nightclub entertainer, and an encounter with Deborah's father, who attempts to push him off a skyscraper parapet. Returning to Cherry's apartment and finding her murdered by a friend of Shago Matin, Rojack leaves New York for Las Vegas, where heantasizes an affectionate telephone conversation with Cherry.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Norman Mailer (1923—2007) American novelist and essayist

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