REVIEW OF NORMAN MAILER’S “CANNIBALS AND CHRISTIANS”

“Was it hard?”

“Very.”

“Oh.”

“Sorry. Wish I could say it’s a really easy thing to do but it’s bloody not. I smoked for about ten years: for the last five I was always trying to quit.”

“Yeah…”

“You know how it goes: you try some new psychological tactic and it works and you enjoy three weeks or three months of healthy lungs then someday you’re drunk or bored or whatever and you think, ‘I’ll just have one,’ look up a few days later and you’re a smoker again. I could only give ’em up for good when… It, er, it was a bit weird actually. Really weird. I’ll give you the short version: basically I managed to find a vantage-point, I was able to look down on my mind from a whole different perspective and I saw, it was so clear, so obvious, that that voice saying ‘I want a fag’ wasn’t mine, had never been mine, it was a…”

And then we had to stop talking because her phone started ringing.

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