The Year of the Monster
The Year of the Monster begins with a case-study look at the Hollywood dream-proxy for the American Dream-and then weaves the woes of celebrity fetish and media culture into real and speculative conversations about the human, climate, and spiritual crises of today. Mixing traditional storytelling with purposeful experimentation, Stillions Whitehead balances prose, script, and hybrids on the fulcrum of classic truth: Monsters and monstrosity are not strictly teratological horrors.
Monster challenges the moral binaries of traditional story justice, situating vulnerable characters in strange, transgressive spaces: A disgraced high school math teacher gives birth to a black hole. Two women discover a dead bird in a near-future when wildlife is extinct. A man finds relief in losing his wife to a tornado. An Army wife coping with isolation is unable to escape media coverage of her former lover facing execution on death row. A cast of Hollywood characters catalog the process of dehumanization in an industry fueled by erasure: a young PA is forced to inoculate a drunk B-list actor in her trailer; two men negotiate a high-profile film project while rewriting the rape trial and suicide of a woman from film school; a young assistant is assaulted-and swept under the rug-while working on the number one sitcom in America.
The Year of the Monster is not without hope. Redemption and recovery have a stake in these sixteen stories. Like the monster of the 21st Century, however, they've been strategically concealed behind more cunning cultural veneers.
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