First written thirty-five years ago and completed days before the Stonewall riots
in New York, Hogg is one of America's most famous "unpublishable" novels. It
recounts three horrifically violent days in 1969 in the life of truck driver and
rapist-for-hire, Franklin Hargus. Narrated by his young accomplice, the novel
portrays a descent into unimaginable depravity, a hell comprised of the filth and
brutality civilization exists to forget. What transforms this nightmare into
literature is Delany's refusal, faced with our moral anxieties, to mutilate his
appalling creation. Hogg's monsters wear our faces, possessing the human complexities of intense loyalty, perverse admiration, and an integrity so pure that pity becomes betrayal. No reader can be prepared for such a story. It is a stunning achievement.
"There's no question that Hogg by Samuel R. Delany is a serious book with literary merit." —Norman Mailer
"Everything is in excess here, but nothing is gratuitous, and as the excess slowly bleeds out of a reader's mind, one is left with the strength of Delany's writing and thinking. Hogg is an exceptional and unique book; it is extremely difficult, extremely harrowing, but well worth it." —American Book Review
"Hogg is a truly significant book. It is distasteful, raw, and upsetting; it also treats some of the sexual taboos that Americans do not want addressed in either art or politics. Hogg is an artistic triumph, as well as a political one." —John O'Brien
"Hogg is a truly experimental novel…a minimalist testing of a single hypothesis. It wants to know to what limits appetite can suffuse consciousness before that consciousness stops being human." —Bruce Benderson
"Hogg is a terrifying journey into the body and soul of a man who embodies all the nighmarish excesses of our century, a creature as much a part of the fever-dream of American life in the 90s as Jeffrey Dahmer...(We read) of such monsters as Delany's Hogg with pity and horror..."
This story is mostly Hogg's.
But first I have to tell you some about me.
Behind the landing of the stairs that went to the basement, by the blistered radiator, I used to suck off a kid named Pedro. He was a sad-looking thirteen-year-old spic, who wore baggy gray pants with a three-inch rip in the side seam—I don't thing he *ever* changed them-and a white short-sleeve shirt he put on Sunday mornings; Saturday nights it was gray. With his shiny hair bumping against the underside of the steps and their hanging drips of dirt, he would grind his sneakers on the gritty boards and rub the heel of his hand on the hard place above his groin where his dad's belt was tied. (The buckle had come off.) His knuckles were red from chewing. "You want it?" He'd dart around scared glances. "Come on, take it now. Go on, take it." His zipper was always half open.
Squatting, I'd nose between the brass teeth to smell his sweat. He
would push penis, both testicles, and the two little fingers of his left hand
into my mouth. Holding his thin hips, I toweled my tongue inside his foreskin
till, leaning and grunting, he would spurt his greasy juice and, quickly
limp, a tablespoon of urine.