The Germans have a word for it: Edelkitsch, noble trash. Some recent fictional examples of it are [Erica Jong's] Fear of Flying, [D. M. Thomas's] The White Hotel, and [John Irving's] The World According to Garp…. The movie of Garp, written by Steve Tesich and directed by George Roy Hill, seems to me both more simple-minded and better than the novel. If this sounds like faint praise, it is meant so. Still, as movies go these days, it may not be all that faint after all.
Garp … concerns well-born Jenny Fields, a nurse and fierce feminist, who wants a child but no husband, and so, during World War II, conceives by a dying ball-turret gunner, Technical...
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