Maine, David 1963-
MAINE, David 1963-
PERSONAL: Born 1963; married Uzma Aslam Khan (a novelist). Education: Attended Oberlin College and University of Arizona.
ADDRESSES: Home—Lahore, Pakistan. Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Worked in mental-health industry, in Massachusetts and Arizona; taught English in Morocco, 1995–98; English teacher in Pakistan, 1998–.
The Preservationist (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004, published as The Flood, Canongate (London, England), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: After working for years in the mental-health field, David Maine's urge to travel took him to Morocco, where he taught English, and ultimately to Pakistan, where he settled and married a novelist. His own debut novel, The Preservationist, travels back through myth and history to retell the story of Noah's Ark, or in this book, Noe's Ark. As Connie Ogle explained in the Miami Herald, "Genesis makes it sound so easy: Gather wood and animals. Build a big boat (dimensions helpfully provided). Wait for rain…. But in David Maine's hilarious and irreverent debut novel, a crafty and, yes, dry reimagining of the story of Noah and the Ark, the process is not so simple."
Most families cannot organize a picnic without some bickering, and Noe's family is beset with a seemingly impossible task, so of course there is grumbling. Though interestingly, Maine does not insert the central doubt that most of us would feel: that Noe is simply nuts and no flood is coming. Instead, Noe's family accept the central, seemingly incredible premise, but differ markedly over methods, and over the morality of the whole thing, including what daughter-in-law Ilya notes is a certain smugness in Noe, who seems to relish the imminent destruction of his doubting neighbors. "By inverting norms, Maine avoids tedium and longueurs during the 40 days and nights of rain," noted Melvin Jules Bukiet in the Washington Post. He added, "This pattern of the expected and unexpected is echoed throughout the narrative, first by the different voices that tell the tale and then by the language that veers between the archaic and willfully anachronistic."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Michele Leber, review of The Preservationist, p. 1609.
Business Wire, September 15, 2004, "Barnes & Noble Discovers How to Build an Ark."
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2004, review of The Preservationist, p. 511.
Kliatt, January, 2005, Pat Dole, review of The Preservationist, p. 49.
Library Journal, July, 2004, Patrick Sullivan, review of The Preservationist, p. 72.
Miami Herald, June 11, 2004, Connie Ogle, "Hope Floats."
O, August, 2004, Peter Smith, "The Perfect Storm: A Witty, Moving First Novel Reimagines a Man, an Ark, and an Unshakable Faith."
People, August 2, 2004, Edward Nawotka, review of The Preservationist, p. 50.
Publishers Weekly, June 14, 2004, review of The Preservationist, p. 44.
Spectator, December 11, 2004, Sophie Lewis, review of The Flood, p. 44.
Time, July 5, 2004, Lev Grossman, "When It Rains, It Pours," p. 88.
Washington Post Book World, June 27, 2004, Melvin Jules Bukiet, "Rain Man," p. 6.
Canongate Books Web site, http://www.canongate.net/ (February 23, 2005), "David Maine."