Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Norman Mailer, whose brilliant book The Naked and the Dead (1948) made him world-famous, has revealed his belief in life after death, karma and reincarnation.

He gives his reasons in an interview with Los Angeles Times staff writer Josh Getlin (4 February 2007) which coincides with publication of his latest novel, The Castle in the Forest, about Hitler's childhood.

After talking about the difficulties and also the advantages that a writer has to accept with old age - he is now 83 - Mailer observes:
"I'm a great believer in the hereafter, in karma, in reincarnation. It does make sense. I believe that God is not just a law-giver, but a creative artist. The greatest of all. And what characterises artists is that they want to redo their work. Maybe it didn't come off perfectly, so they want to see it done again, and improved. Reincarnation is a way for God to improve his earlier works."
The novelist's opinions will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed his literary career closely. Reincarnation is a theme of his book Ancient Evenings in which the main character is reborn three times. Mailer was inspired to write the book after coming across E.A. Wallis-Bridge's The Book of the Dead. After that, he has said, he was "a goner. Egypt it was for 11 years."

During that time he read 100 books on reincarnation and the 20th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. Interviewed by Melvyn Bragg for the Sunday Times Magazine (5 June 1983) he explained: "... any culture whose eschatology was founded on such a notion as reincarnation was congenial to me".

Of particularly interest, he added, was the idea that "...when you died you had a double, Ka, and in your adventures in the underworld this was either destroyed or it could lie to be seen again. Hence the Egyptian prayer 'Do not let me die a second time'."