Feb 13, 2014
Handler on Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls:
"This is one of my favorite novels in the world. It is about an unhappily married woman who meets a reptilian monster, and has an affair with him. I think it’s a splendid novel, and has a perfect ending. But if you are considering your own romantic history, this teaches you that if you go after something that you want, no matter what the obstacles in your path, it actually won’t turn out that well. It may seem to you that it is unwise to have a romantic relationship with a monster, and it turns out, yes, it is unwise to have a romantic relationship with a monster. (…)
I give that book to everybody. I tell everybody to read it, and very few people have come back to me and joined my cult. It’s a lonely cult here in San Francisco around Mrs. Caliban. I encourage A.V. Club readers to read Mrs. Caliban, and if they’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, come find me and we can finally get this cult off the ground. Just don’t read it on Valentine’s Day. Have a wonderful date with your loved one. Don’t think about the fact that everything goes to hell and you actually can’t overcome certain obstacles in your relationship. And then, when the date is over, read Mrs. Caliban and join my cult. We’ll be sacrificing virgins in no time. I don’t know where we’ll find virgins in San Francisco. Maybe we’ll find them in Alameda. We’ll go out to the suburbs.”
On Stuart Little by E. B. White:
"I have something of an appreciation for Stuart Little now, but when I first read it, I thought that book was a total gyp. I remember that I literally turned the page, the last page of the book, thinking there was more, and was like, “You’re kidding me, there’s nothing? He doesn’t find anything?” I remember I had this argument with someone in children’s publishing, where I said that I thought that ending was ridiculous. She said, “It’s about adoption. Stuart Little is this mouse whose parents are human. It’s about wondering where you really came from. For many people who are adopted, they never find out.” I said, “Yeah, in life. This is a book. In life, a rebel cop who doesn’t play by the rules gets fired. But in a Bruce Willis-movie, you don’t want that. [Pretends to be police officer.] ‘You’re way out of control, sir, goodbye.’” You want him to save the world. I felt that way about Stuart Little. Yes, it does capture the essence of life. But if, for instance, you’re just a fifth grader who doesn’t want to read something that captures the essence of life, but is just a good story, then you’re going to be disappointed in Stuart Little. When you get older, you realize there are mysteries you’re never going to solve, and life, in and of itself, is incomplete, but if you’re reading little else besides Tintin, then Stuart Little is going to be disappointing.”
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