Was Norman Mailer A Lady-Hating Wife-Stabber Or Just Misunderstood?

Norman Mailer died last week, and in (and at) his wake, he left a city of women. Many he had had sex with. Many had sprung from his loins. Did he look down on their entire gender, though? His sixth and final wife Norris Church Mailer inexplicably gave an "exclusive" interview to the Post in which she claims, "Most people who said he was a male chauvinist didn't know him and didn't read his work. That was a fallacy. He was a man who loved women, and respected them." She went on in the same vein, conflating loving sex with women for love for the female sex. (Psst! Not the same thing!) "He had five daughters, three daughters-in-law and six granddaughters who all adored him." Yes, but he also had five ex-wives, some of whom do not adore him.

One of those wives, Adele Mailer (neé Morales), the one he stabbed in 1960, spoke to the Times about his true piss-filled legacy.

An abstract painter and former window display designer, Mrs. Mailer lives by herself in a wildly disordered, rent-stabilized one-bedroom apartment on East 78th Street near First Avenue in Manhattan amid a turbulent sea of thrift-shop clothing, cardboard boxes and urban flotsam salvaged from street corners for collages. Every inch of the floor is strewn with clutter."

"It's very embarrassing," she said, explaining why she generally resists letting visitors into her home. "It looks like a crazy woman lives here." Her explanation? "It's the apartment of a depressed person, where I just gave up."

The building itself, a weather-beaten red-brick tenement, is not in much better shape. On Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Mailer stood on the curb and hollered at a drug-addled man who was on his knees urinating in the building's vestibule. "You're bad!" she yelled at the man, whose frequent use of the vestibule as a toilet has given the area a permanent, eye-stinging stench. "Boy, if your mother could see you now!"

Composing herself, she ambled down the street, wearing a thrift-shop overcoat several sizes too big for her slight frame. "This is Norman Mailer's wife," she said to no one in particular, shaking her head. "It's riches to rags, honey."