Back around the media frenzy-time of the Where the Wild Things Are movie, I began to sense that Maurice Sendak was kind of crazy. But like, the kind of crazy he was entitled to be. The kind of crazy we should all hope to one day be entitled to be. He wrote all those books, dammit! He is fully allowed to be old and grouchy and awesome.
He has a new children’s book now, Bumble-Ardy, which sounds like his typical blend of imagination, darkness and happy endings with maybe a bit of an asterisk. (It’s about a pig who is orphaned on the very first page thanks to a slicing machine. YUP.)
But the best thing about a new Maurice Sendak book is that it brings us new Maurice Sendak interviews. And The Guardian bagged itself a doozy, basically just letting the 83-year-old Sendak talk about everything he hates. Which is a lot! And includes Gwyneth Paltrow! Because AWESOME:
Of Salman Rushdie, who once gave him a terrible review in the New York Times, he says: “That flaccid fuckhead. He was detestable. I called up the Ayatollah, nobody knows that.” Roald Dahl: “The cruelty in his books is off-putting. Scary guy. I know he’s very popular but what’s nice about this guy? He’s dead, that’s what’s nice about him.” Stephen King: “Bullshit.” Gwyneth Paltrow: “I can’t stand her.”
The whole interview is a must-read, honestly: In between all the kvetching and crazy is a very sweet, sad story about Sendak still mourning the 2007 death of his partner, Eugene, and how he credits his talent for children’s books to a very non-perfect childhood. ”I refuse to lie to children,” says Sendak. “I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.”