Fox, Charlie. “This Young Monster”, Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018.
“This Young Monster” is a “hallucinatory celebration of artists who raise hell, transform their bodies, anger their elders and show their audience dark, disturbing things.” We look at what it is to be a freak, why it is we wise to think of the present as a terrible time and how the concept of the monster affects our thinking about queerness, disability, children and adolescents.
While Charlie Fox writes about scary and fabulous monsters, but he is really writing about culture. In doing so, he invites his readers to become monsters. In the book we have biographical essays, a “dumb fan letter” to the Beast, a meandering confession from Alice, bombed out after her many years in Wonderland and other writings that are impossible to expect. Thus this is a look at life on the margins, and a thank you to a group of people who “embraced their misfit status to lead beautifully unconventional lives.”
It might take a while to get used to Fox’s writing but once you do, you are in for quite a read that is audacious and original.
The book opens “with a letter addressed to the Beast (of Beauty and the fame, of La Belle et la fame) and closes with a series of diary entries about Arthur Rimbaud.” Another fascinating essay is “Spook House” written as an imaginary screenplay.
Charlie Fox clearly knows his stuff, even if he does insist on writing it as an experimental play script. What this really is, I believe, is a compendium of essays about the art, film, poetry and celebrity of monstrousness.