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You, Too, Can Live in Norman Mailer’s House

The Paris Review // May 16, 2018

Norman Mailer’s Brooklyn Heights pad is on the market! The fourth-floor two-bedroom apartment overlooking the promenade was first listed in 2011, but the sale fell through when the prospective buyer discovered the atrium wasn’t up to code. Norman Mailer was afraid of heights, and so, macho to the core, he had his apartment outfitted with crow’s nests, gangplanks, galley ladders, and hammocks. In short, he built himself a nautical jungle gym on which to exercise his biggest personal fears. Now his son Michael has removed all that, bringing the space in line with those rigorous regulation-atrium requirements. The walls have been painted white, and Norman’s stacks of books have been whittled down by professional stagers, but the $2.4 million price tag is the same as it was seven years ago. Mailer had nine children (from six wives), who will split the proceeds. “The nautically themed space is iconic, like its creator,” the real-estate listing reads, in excellent Executioner’s Song–esque prose, “with a two-story glass and wood atrium and a sloping wood ceiling recalling the curves of a grand sailboat.” Sure, as Joan Smith wrote after his death, “Mailer hated authority, homosexuality, women and almost certainly himself.” Sure, he stabbed one of his wives with a penknife, complained about the “womanization of America,” helped spring a murderer from jail, made a failed run for mayor, and declared himself an “enemy of birth control.” But the place probably isn’t haunted. Look at that view.

And here, for good measure, is what the space looked like in 2011, before professional stagers painted the walls white and removed the gangplanks:

If any of you have a spare $2.4 million lying around, the Paris Review staff would appreciate it if you’d invite us over.

Original Article: The Paris Review