Hodgson, James. “A Creature of Transformation”, Superbia, 2019.
Evolution and Mutation
The first thing I love about reviewing is discovering new talent and lately it seems to be everywhere. I received a note from a guy asking me if I would like to review his new book and as I usually do, I told him to go ahead and send me a copy. It seemed to take forever to get here and I learned that was because it was coming from England and when it finally came, I saw that it 32 pages long and designated as a chap book. I knew that there poetry chap books but I was totally unaware of fiction chap books. This one has four stories and while it did not take me long to read (which I did a couple of days ago), I cannot get the stories out of my head. The four tales share a theme— mutation and evolution and show us that it is not always easy to just be. Each story also contains some major change and that change is both “Bottom of Forma metaphysical consequence of being but also as a literary act of defiance and self-determination.” That in itself is not so strange since all of us experience changes and transformations. Now the results of those changes might be different from each other but then each man is different from every other man. Like the characters in Hodgson’s characters, the results of change can be very powerful. All of us have gone through transformations as we look for meaning in our lives. These stories all share a theme of queer desire.
I am having a bit of a problem in reviewing the stories because to say something about what they have to say could ruin the read for some of you. What I can say is that the character development is unique especially in stories that are this short. But then developing the characters also depends on the reader and how he sees them. In “Fallout” we meet Paul and Simon who find transformation as they are on a journey of discovery. In “The Malignant Symptom”, I felt I was overhearing a conversation that was not for me and that I was eavesdropping on a very personal conversation. On the other hand, I felt that this was a conversation that I was meant to hear and heed.
“Rubies in Your Legs” is a delight. Composed of nine paragraphs, we get a look at man/man sex by a prince and his reaction to it. I dare you not to find yourself in one of the paragraphs.
“Metaformosis” (it is not misspelled—well, it is misspelled but this is writer James Hodgson’s choice) is, I believe, about the meaninglessness of sex or perhaps it is about the meaningfulness—it is up to the reader to decide how to understand the story and how to understand his own reaction to it.
What I am writing here is strictly my opinion and these stories can affect other readers in totally different ways; literature does that. And this is literature, the author writes beautiful prose that pulls you in and I say that as someone who does not enjoy short stories. These stories are studies in contrast between the real and surreal, the political and the apolitical with sex above our heads as we read. I love this little book and I believe that we have a new voice who has much to add to our cannon. I do not want any of you to read this as philosophically as it sounds. I am a philosopher and so I write like one but I can also totally enjoy the mundane and the degenerate not that Hodgson is either of those. From what I can tell he sounds like a very real and fascinating person who you can get to know now through his writing.