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MONSTER, 1959 Hardcover – 20 Mar 2008

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"[When] Maine's evocative prose takes control, as in the telling of the creation myth recited by the elders on K's island, he creates something uniquely strange and beautiful...If you think you've seen this story before, you're right, but never quite like this." - THE WASHINGTON POST "Like its protagonist, 'a Daliesque construct of unexpected leaps and alarming juxtapositions,' Monster, 1959 is both ungainly and oddly endearing." - THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW" --New York Times Review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Technicolor 10 April 2008
By Stuart Archer Cohen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you thought the 1950's monster movie story was all used up, David Maine will prove you wrong as soon as you've hacked your way through a few pages of jungle on his nuclear-contaminated island. Maine includes all the parts left out of the originals: the primitive sacrificial victim who preceded the beautiful blonde intruder, the sluggish thought processes of the innocent vegetarian monster. He even fleshes out the highly interesting sex life you always fantasized about between the square-jawed hero and the big-busted heroine he saves. Gotta love it!

An arch, sardonic comic-book of a novel that brings technicolor into a black and white landscape. Definitely a romp.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
On the soapbox and Lady Liberty 14 Aug. 2008
By Richard LeComte - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Maine sets up the book as a spoof of 1950s horror films, complete with corny dialogue, while at the same time echoing John Gardner's "Grendel" in that Maine tries to get into the "head" of a mutant, 40-foot monster. Some of the writing, particularly in the deptictions of the characters of Betty and Doug, is very good, and there's a good deal of excitement as well as sex and gore. But Maine has axes to grind about the United States and the world of the 1950s, and the novel, short as it is, suffers from the pretty naked preaching about Iran, Palenstine and Hungary.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Maine's Monster 3 July 2013
By Monotremata - Published on
I absolutely adored this book. I read it in about two days and enjoyed every minute of this beautifully written monster movie in print. I have always been a fan of monster movies and tales of beasts. David Maine's gift is the ability to take stories we think we know and inject them with incredible pathos and vivid color. I really love his writing style. If you enjoy books about misunderstood monsters and the monstrous nature of man, you should read this one!
2.5 Stars . . . Bumpy Ride 20 Oct. 2010
By Eric Wilson - Published on
Format: Paperback
I count myself a David Maine fan. I loved "The Preservationist" and "The Book of Samson," and I thought "Fallen" was orchestrated brilliantly. I appreciate Maine's ability to be irreverent but never sacriligious with biblical stories, infusing them with the raw reality of everyday humanity. Imagine then my interest in "Monster, 1959," marketed as a "nuanced, detailed, and exquisitely written" tale.

On those criteria, the book holds up well. Indeed, "Monster, 1959" is full of details about the 1950s, about cultural and political turmoil, and about the creature that serves as the centerpiece. This forty-foot tall monster, named K., is wrought with great skill and nuance; of this, there is no doubt. I found myself drawn into the creature's story as he is pulled from a South Pacific island and taken to America. Inevitably, he will be exploited for money. The comparisons to "King Kong" are many. Perhaps too many. I kept waiting for the story to veer from that well-known plot, only to find it rehashing it with a bit more violence and sexual perversity, ala Chuck Palahnuik.

From Chuckie P., this would be a tame but expected story, although it fails to ever deliver on its deep social homilies. (If anything Palahnuik has become "preachy" with his nihilistic vision.) Maine seems to try his hand at a similar style, but succeeds only a few times at transcending the "King Kong" story and making it anything fresh, vital, or important.

I love Maine's writing, his creativity, and I'll give his next book a chance. It was fun to see him try something different, but the only character I could truly root for was K., and K's destiny seemed evident from the first four or five wonderfully rendered chapters. The rest was a bumpy ride.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Flawed pastiche 18 Oct. 2008
By Daniel M. Kimmel - Published on
Format: Hardcover
An interesting pastiche on "King Kong" and '50s monster movies is marred by anachronisms (having Sinatra singing "New York, New York" more than 25 years before the song was written; "Fiddler on the Roof" playing on Broadway six years before it opened). That might be forgiven as plain laziness by the writer, but the repeated inclusion of completely extraneous anti-Israel slurs (such as comparing them to Nazis) marks Maine as a writer with an agenda I do not wish to encounter again. Even referring to "Palestinians" is anachronistic as the local Arabs certainly weren't calling themselves that in the 1950s, and the West Bank and Gaza were being occupied not by Israel at the time but Egypt and Jordan. In his closing credits Maine references classic Israel bashers like Noam Chomsky and a Palestinian website. If the book was focusing on Maine's anti-Israel bias, his claims and distortions could be discussed and shot down. Instead he inserts these references into the text like a Hamas suicide bomber sneaking into an Israeli supermarket or college cafeteria. Why he would deface his novel -- which has NOTHING to do with this subject -- with this propaganda suggests his political agenda trumps his ability to tell a story.
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