There's unquestionably a lot of social commentary and critique running through all the vile stuff happening in Hogg
. Others have pointed it out more eloquently than I ever could, especially Heidi Cullinan's review here:
and Leo Robertson's review here:
This book worked for me on a differend, more personal level, too.
I went into it with the immature mindset of not going to be defeated by a oh-so-controversial, oh-so-disgusting book. I mean, I've seen it all already, haven't I? I've read worse. Heck, I used to write
viler, more distusting things when I went though my torture-porn phase as a teen.
All that is true. Hogg
is by far not the vilest, most disgusting thing I've ever read, and I wasn't all that shocked and squicked out.
But that's exactly the point. That's exactly the fucking problem, as I came to realize at the end.
This book took all my arrogance, all my hard-boiledness, and shoved it into my face. Hard.Hogg
and its 11-year-old, disconnected narrator served as a mirror - and I didn't like what I was seeing. It was scary - I
became scary to myself.
A book that did something like this to me, changed my perspective and the way I see myself even just a little bit, deserves at least four stars, for all the shortcommings it might have otherwise.
I think, this book might work quite differently for every reader, depending where you come from. For a lot of people it doesn't work at all.
Also: When it comes to big, bushy beards and kickass prose, Delany is still the one MoFo to rule them all.