A hybrid of memoir and essay from award-winning writer and critic Alison Croggon.
“I was born as part of a monstrous structure—the grotesque, hideous, ugly, ghastly, gruesome, horrible relations of power that constituted colonial Britain. A structure that shaped me, that shapes the very language that I speak and use and love. I am the daughter of an empire that declared itself the natural order of the world.”
From award-winning writer and critic Alison Croggon, Monsters is a hybrid of memoir and essay that takes as its point of departure the painful breakdown of a relationship between two sisters.
It explores how our attitudes are shaped by the persisting myths that underpin colonialism and patriarchy, how the structures we are raised within splinter and distort the possibilities of our lives and the lives of others.
Monsters asks how we maintain the fictions that we create about ourselves, what we will sacrifice to maintain these fictions—and what we have to gain by confronting them.
“Young Adult author Croggon grapples with both personal and historical demons… Croggon asks probing questions about self-perception and trauma… The monsters of the title are plentiful: throughout the essays she addresses her British colonialist ancestors, her abusive mother, the “traumatic tedium” of her relationship to her sister, and herself… Lyrically rendered, this reckoning will leave readers with plenty to think about.”
“Alison Croggon’s memoir-as-essay is like a chemical rinse, stinging and refreshing by turn. Her scorching insights into the distorting forces of colonialism and patriarchy, forces that make us less than human, strip away any comforting illusions we might hold about ourselves or our treatment of others. Croggon spares herself least of all. In language at once fiery and elegant, she reckons with the collective failures of her imperialist ancestors and the personal shame of their legacy. It’s a book I will return to often for its power and its truths.”
—Marina Benjamin, author of Insomnia
“A marvel of a book… Croggon spares no one, least of all herself, as she unearths colonial history and family complicity to scrutinize those demons that both torment and shape us. This is exactly the kind of book I have longed to see white authors write, and I love it for its refusal to provide easy answers to the dilemma at the heart of the modern human condition.”
—Ruby Hamad, author of White Tears/Brown Scars
- Nib Literary Award