David Maine on the Monster 59
David Maine was born in 1963 and grew up in Farmington, Connecticut. He attended Oberlin College and the University of Arizona and has worked in the mental-health systems of Massachusetts and Arizona. He has taught English in Morocco and Pakistan, and since 1998 has lived in Lahore, Pakistan, with his wife, novelist Uzma Aslam Khan.
Question: What inspired you to write "Monster 59?”
David Maine:That's actually one that I was working on before the Noah book, before these other books that got published, I was sort of halfway through that. I love pop culture. I love monster movies. I grew up on them. I still watch them, the cheesier the better, the 1950s black and white with the really bad acting, I love all that stuff, and my original impulse was to take this incredibly humble material, this--yeah, it's bad stuff--and to try tho elevate it, to try to present it like as Shakespeare, like it's Greek tragedy, like it's some kind, like the monster that gets blown off the Empire State Building or wherever is this huge tragic figure like King Lear or somebody or Oedipus, who just has some flaw that brings about his downfall. I had no particular notion of where that would go, but I just wanted to explore the tension between yet really low-grade material with really high-class treatment. I just thought it would be kind of funny and maybe interesting and maybe it would reveal something. And, as I worked on it, I kept sort of taking detours and the ideas just sort of kept spreading and suddenly stuff from the 50s kept creeping into the book and I realized that it was not only was it a monster movie, but it was sort of grounded and the events of its time which are always completely absent from these movies. You watch all these movies from the 50s, and there is never any mention of the world, the geopolitical situation or what was happening in the US or anywhere else at that time. There's maybe some nuclear testing, right, which makes the giant spider, but that's as much you ever get. And so I found all that kind of stuff kept creeping in to the mix and that seemed interesting and it seemed like maybe that was actually what the story was about to some degree and I just kind of ran with it. It was fun.
In pop culture, the Monster is a tragic figure.
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