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Jan-12-2008 19:58printcomments

Clown Girl by Oregon Author Monica Drake: A Stark Confrontation with Reality

"Clown Girl is more than a great book. Clown Girl is its own reality." - Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club

Clown Girl by Oregon Author Monica Drake
Clown Girl by Oregon Author Monica Drake

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Not since Fight Club has a debut novel generated such an impact: why else would Chuck write an intro? Clown Girl is more than a great book. Clown Girl is its own reality. Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club said.

Clown Girl is an extreme novel beyond metaphor, a hilarious book that asks the startling question: what does it mean to be serious about clowning? This intelligent narrative always keeps in mind the bleakness and desperation that initially caused a need for clowns, and that they, in their way, embody.

Is there exaggeration in the book’s narrator, or in its world, or neither, or both? I found myself asking if I were myself a clown and if not, why not? Caulrophiles and caulrophobes, prepare yourselves!

Peter Rock, author of The Unsettling Monica Drake’s Clown Girl is a bright shining bubble of a novel, dark, funny and deeply strange.

The word "unique" is widely abused but I think, for once, it’s justified: this novel is not much like anything else, and all the better for it. A really exciting debut. Kevin Canty, author of Winslow in Love

In this darkly comic novel, Clown Girl lives in Baloneytown, a neighborhood so run down and penniless that drugs, balloon animals and even rubber chickens contribute to the local currency. Against a backdrop of petty crime, Clown Girl struggles to find her place in the world of high art.

But all is not art in her life: in an effort to support herself and her under-employed performance-artist boyfriend, she is drawn into the world of paying jobs, and finds herself unwittingly turned into a "corporate clown," trapped in a cycle of meaningless, high paid gigs which veer dangerously close, then closer to prostitution.

Using the lens of clown life to illuminate a struggle between artistic integrity and an economic reality, Monica Drake has created a novel that embraces the high comedy of early film stars -- most notably Chaplin and W.C. Fields. At the same time Drake manages to raise questions about issues of class, gender, economics and prejudice. This debut novel is an stunning blend of the bizarre, the humorous, and the gritty. The novel resists easy classification, but is completely accessible to a general audience.

Clown Girl by Monica Drake was first published in February 2007. It is listed for $15.95 with a 336 page text. ISBN: 0-9766311-5-6. For further information please contact: Shannon Carson,, Hawthorne Books, 1221 SW 10th Avenue, Suite 408, Portland, OR 97205. Hawthorne Books is distributed by

Monica Drake teaches at the Pacific NW College of Art. Her fiction has appeared in the Beloit Fiction Journal, Three Penny Review, The Insomniac Reader, and others.

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