COME UN-DUNNE The review of Dominick Dunne’s O.J. novel Another City, Not My Own that ran in the Los Angeles Times Book Review on Jan. 4 was withering: “Dunne will twist his narrative into a pretzel rather than leave a name undropped,” said reviewer Gary Indiana. An enraged Dunne contends that Indiana never should have been assigned the book in the first place, since he caricatured Dunne in Resentment: A Comedy, his 1997 novel about the Menendez brothers’ trial. In a letter to book review editor Steve Wasserman, Dunne wrote: “What is so distasteful is not Indiana’s review. What is distasteful is that you chose him to write it, knowing of his hostility to me.” “I am not aware of any animus toward Dunne on the part of Indiana,” responded Wasserman in his own letter. (“Bulls — -,” says Dunne.) Indiana argues that having written about another L.A. trial, he was a reasonable choice for the review. “I have no personal gripe against Dominick Dunne,” he says. “I was perfectly prepared to give [Another City] a favorable review. But I think the only person who might review that book favorably might be his mother.” Other book review editors were surprised at the choice. “This is a case where the appearance is problematic, and one thing you try to do [as an editor] is avoid that,” says New York Times Book Review editor Chip McGrath, adding that Indiana’s stake in the territory might be “the very thing that rendered him an interesting choice.”
PEN NAME That early pugilist’s training hasn’t gone for naught: Norman Mailer is flexing some serious arm muscle, well into signing a wrist-breaking 35,000 copies of his upcoming book. Entitled The Time of Our Time, it anthologizes selections of his fiction and reportage from the past 50 years and will be released by Random House in May. “This book is a little like John Dos Passos’ U.S.A….there are a great many people who pop up in it again and again,” says Mailer. Yep, his racy 1991 Esquire interview with Madonna made the cut. So, how’s the penmanship exercise going? “I thought it was going to be a horror, but I just put on Mozart. You can’t sign books and listen to Sonny Rollins.” Nor Like a Virgin, we suppose.