Trash talk

August 17, 2006

I haven’t made it very far into the latest volume of Monster (Viz – Signature), but I’m already kind of loving it. Saintly Tenma’s former fiancé is swanning around in lingerie, snarling at underlings in a way that would make Donna Mills and Joan Collins weep with pride if they weren’t wearing two pounds of make-up on each eye.

“You watch too many soaps,” she sneers at a man she’s playing. So does Naoki Urasawa, if we’re going to be entirely honest about it. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing by any means, because Monster is good, trashy fun.

I had a little flash of defensiveness when Dave Intermittent described Ian McEwan’s novels as “well-written trash,” but the more I think about it, the more I realize he’s right. Listening to McEwan’s Saturday during recent long drives was the nail in the coffin.

It’s taken me a while to realize that McEwan’s pet theme – punishing well-to-do intellectuals for being too self-absorbed – is one that I find really irritating. The construction of his novels is almost always flawless (though Saturday isn’t), and the characters are unusually sympathetic for this genre. (I hated the characters in The Corrections so much that I abandoned the book about a third of the way in.)

But he is capable of writing really entertaining, artful trash, so I’m sure I’ll read more of his books. I’ll just space them out.

(And speaking of entertaining trash, I really thought Jeffrey should have won the latest challenge on Project Runway. I can’t stand him, but that dress was amazing.)