Depths and Dragons
Visionary poet and archaeologist Hugh Fox excavates the fragile human psyche and its need for spiritual belonging in his new novel, Depths and Dragons. The reader will be swept along on a cosmopolitan excursion that skirts variant cultural scapes and languages as it lurches toward some unknown existential destination. The story is told evocatively through a clever synthesis of the tragi-comic and the author’s kaleidoscopic stream of consciousness style. Fox is a consummate master of collagist inner monologues that teeter somewhere between the conscious and subconscious without ever fully yielding to either.
The aptly named Miriam must undergo a journey of violent displacement between the worlds of Jew and gentile, rabbi and priest, orthodoxy and heresy. Along the way she is made to pay the ultimate price of familial sacrifice, degenerative diaspora, and the loss of her spiritual moorings. The novel battles states of inner and outer terrorism, from physical death to an exalted denial of the flesh, but all the while retaining precious wit and jocularity. The twists and turns of this self-pilgrimage lead to a surprising outcome, and one that will be well worth sharing.
Hugh Fox was born in Chicago in 1932 and was raised by a Jewish grandmother who hid her Jewishness from him; he was raised as a fanatic Irish Catholic. It was only much later through his mother’s deathbed confession to a nurse that he learned that his grandmother had been a Jew – which inspired him to convert to Judaism.
Sadly Hugh died in 2011 but his lifetime’s accomplishments were extraordinary. He was a co-founder of the Pushcart Prize for Literature (alongside Anaïs Nin and others), a champion of small-press publishing and creator of the avant-garde literary magazine Ghost Dance. He was also a well-travelled authority on Latin American archaeology and spent many years living in Brazil. He had a PhD in American Literature from the University of Illinois, was a professor at Michigan State University for more than three decades, and author of some 80 published books ranging through literary fiction to experimental poetry, archaeology, memoirs, reviews and literary criticism.