Norman Mailer, "Harlot's Ghost,' published by Random House (New York), stated first edition of 1991.
Harlot's Ghost is a 1310 page hardcover measuring 9 1/2" x 6 1/4". The dust jacket is price-clipped and the book spine is slightly bumped but the rest of the book is clean and unmarked and the binding is tight. The condition is very good.
Harlot's Ghost is the novel for which Norman Mailer has been searching throughout his long and brilliant career, the culmination of one of America's great literary journeys, a novel to fulfill Mailer's lifelong obsession with the mystery of America.
Harlot's Ghost is a book about spies and intelligence officers--men and women for whom deceit and the invention of alternate selves become an honorable calling, a way of life, a kind of religion. But Harlot's Ghost is not a spy novel in which the forces of light struggle with those of darkness. The enemy here is not the alien and destructive will of a distant power, but the soul-consuming cold war itself. Harlot's Ghost is the story of a crusade, one in which the distinction between truth and falsehood is as elusive as the line between fiction and art.
Harry Hubbard, Mailer's narrator, happens to be an accomplished storyteller, but in no other way is he a particularly remarkable man. The son of an OSS hero, he is also the protege of the legendary Hugh Tremont Montague, whose nom de guerre is Harlot. Harry Hubbard's story of his own development as an intelligence officer and of Harlot's far more spectacular adventures in duplicity is also the story of the CIA, which represents, in Mailer's hands, America's postwar church: the keeper of its secrets, the vector of its values. Montague, alias Harlot, is himself a holy innocent in pursuit of a monumental dream, a man so transformed by a life of subterfuge and delusion that his real motives may now be beyond even his own comprehension. Born in a Western state, the product of a tragically alienated childhood, a graduate of Harvard, a former Episcopal schoolmaster, Harlot appoints himself defender of the American faith and becomes a master manipulator at work in the interstice of much of our recent history. Harlot's wife, the ineffable Kittredge, the most powerful and complex woman that Normal Mailer has ever created in his fiction, moves alternately in harmony with her mate and in counterpoint to him--and Harry Hubbard, for Harry will become her lover and her second husband. Amid a galaxy of extraordinary fictional men and women and such real figures as Allen Dulles, Howard Hunt, William King Harvey, Fidel Castro, President Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover, and Sam Giancana, the scene passes from Maine to Georgetown, from Moscow and Berlin to Montevideo and Miami, even as Harry's work for Harlot, for Harvey, for Hunt, and for his own father draws him more and more deeply into labyrinths of moral purpose.
This vast novel of daily life in the CIA re-creates, like no other work of American fiction, the majestic and harshly twisted strands of the American soul. In Harlot's Ghost, Normal Mailer has written his masterpiece.