When Norman Mailer began his novel, Barbary Shore, there was no plan to have a Russian spy as a character. As he worked on it, he introduced a Russian spy into the story as a minor character. As the work progressed, the spy became the dominant character in the novel.
Upon the release of the book, Norman Mailer was surprised to hear the story of the most wanted Russian spy in America being arrested, as this closely resembled the theme of his book. The spy, Colonel Rudolf Abel, was arrested one floor away next to Mailer’s apartment in the same building where he wrote his book.
This is what Norman had to say about what he experienced:
- “…working on Barbary Shore I always felt as if I were not writing the book myself, but rather as if I were serving as a subject for some intelligence which had decided to use me to write the book.”
- “Who knows what glimpses of reality we pick up unconsciously, telepathically.”
He felt that the storyline and details were coming from a source outside of himself, and he’s not the only author to say this.