Toby Lichtig

The Boy Who Was a Wolf & a King

The Wild Things


Hamish Hamilton 281pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s classic Where the Wild Things Are is a story about anger. Boisterous Max is sent to his room without any supper; he reacts by turning the world around him into a gothic forest of perilous beasts. When Max is made master of his fury, he sinks into contrition (homesickness) and returns to the fold of his parents’ forgiveness.

The lasting attraction of Sendak’s book is a testament to the powerful simplicity of the fable (the writing itself amounts to a mere ten sentences) and his wonderfully evocative illustrations (the monsters are apparently caricatures of relatives he was forced to endure as a child). The story has already been adapted for animation and opera, and the film, written by Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers, was released this month. While collaborating on the latter, Eggers was asked by Sendak if a novel might be produced out of the accumulated material. The result is The Wild Things (‘There’s one in all of us’).

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Hart sets out to unsettle, startle and disturb. In this strange, disconcerting, radical version of a strange, disc… ,
    • Here is @MannJessica's June crime fiction round-up, discussing books by Georges Simenon, Jack Grimwood,… ,
    • John Stubbs reviews Stephen Greenblatt's latest, 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' ,
    • RT : What happened when US military strategist Herman Kahn - one of Kubrick’s three models for Dr Strangelove - took LSD… ,
    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,