The 25 Best Novels Written By Writers Under 30

23. The Naked and the Dead (1948)

Author: Norman Mailer
Age: 25

If you are lacking for inspiration as an artist, one surefire cure is to go to war. It worked for Norman Mailer. Though Mailer was a cook during World War II and saw little active duty, he was able to draw upon his observations and create a best-selling novel.

The novel is not widely read today, and it certainly has its critics, particularly regarding its prose style. While the responsibility for most of the prose can fall on Mailer, there was one choice that was not his fault. Mailer was asked by his publisher to replace the word "fuck" with "fug." Allegedly, this prompted actress Tellulah Bankhead to grate him by remarking, "Oh, hello, you're Norman Mailer. You're the young man that doesn't know how to spell..."

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