I don't get this, not even a little bit. According to the biographical notes in the latest New Yorker, Mr. Eggers is going to publish the novel version (for all the kids who read the NYer, I guess) of the screenplay he wrote for Spike Jonze of the Maurice Sendak picture book Where the Wild Things Are. Really? Really?? I had heard rumors, but I didn't believe it.
It's unbelievably terrible. I'm not even one of the people who love the original book (I never read it as a kid, and my own kids preferred In the Night Kitchen) but I'm appalled that Eggers thinks that adding a dumb step-father, a mean sister, and a bunch of overly-familiar family dysfunction somehow adds to the story. What's so wonderful about Where the Wild Things Are is its air of mystery. Nothing is explained, but everything is vivid and real and bizarre. The Eggers version is, tragically, boring. The monsters are given flat, sit-com-like dialogue. By trying to explain the story, Eggers robs the story of its magic, and it soon ceases to make sense.
Why do this? Why put your greasy fingerprints all over a story that was otherwise perfect? What is with this need to take, and own, all the cool things?
On the other hand, I truly loved the Sherman Alexie story that was in the August 10th issue. Many years ago I saw Alexie "read" -- he actually just shut the book and told the story, which was totally cool and impressive. This new story, "War Dances," is about a guy obsessing about his health while thinking about his father's death. I love the way he can so funny while writing about death -- it reminds me of another Native American writer, James Welch, whose perfect Winter in the Blood is also sad and hilarious.
So I guess I'm not about to cancel my subscription. Haha. As if!