Thursday, May 15, 2008

Title fight

When book titles have commonplace words in them, it's
hardly surprising that they get used more than once. For
instance, Christchurch author Paul Cleave called his first
novel The Cleaner; almost simultaneously an American
writer with the wonderful name of Brett Battles came out
with his own first novel—The Cleaner. There's also a new
Samuel L Jackson movie called Cleaner, which may
explain why another new movie has been clumsily called
Code Name: The Cleaner. Slightly less predictably, the
film title Blindsight rips off Maurice Gee's clever book title
Blindsight (there's no connection between the two).

You'd have thought, however, that there would only ever
be one Foreskin’s Lament in the world. Not so. After
nearly 30 years of having the field to itself, Greg McGee's
seemingly uniquely titled New Zealand play is now
outgoogled by Foreskin's Lament, a new book by Shalom
Auslander about growing up Jewish in New Jersey. Still,
I guess it's no skin off McGee's, um, nose; it could even be
a backhanded tribute to him for having coined such a
memorable title that it warranted a revival.


Brett Battles said...

Not to mention a show in development at the A&E cable network called "The Cleaner." What can we say? It's a popular title....ugh!

Fun post. It always amazes me that more titles don't over lap.

Anonymous said...

What's even weirder is both Cleave's and Battle's 'The Cleaner' are published by Random House. You'll find Cleave's one came out two years ago in New Zealand. I've read them both - they're both great books!