Fiercer Monsters by Youssef Alaoui

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Fiercer Monsters by Youssef Alaoui


Youssef Alaoui’s short-story collection, Fiercer Monsters, is concerned with the symbology of letters and the word as invocation, contrasted with the futility of language. In these stories, Alaoui presents a Neanderthal oracle, a little girl in Venezuela in the 1950s, a 19th-century hallucinating sailor, and a WWI soldier. The voices are sometimes salty, always salient. Each voice ultimately laments the fall of the tower of Babel and the resulting confusion.

What People Are Saying

"Youssef Alaoui’s investigation sifts through language finding and discarding gods along the way. Not so much a trip down rabbit holes, but rather the invention of mirrors. Storytelling in which you find instruments where time should be. Or the monologue of a man who is shuffling cards near his own crime scene."

– Tongo Eisen-Martin, author of someone’s dead already (2015)

"When unraveling the layers and folds of a Fabulist, you are never sure whether your experience is new or if you are lost in the embroidery. With Youssef Alaoui you get some kind of delirious weave reminiscent of Donald Barthelme and Arthur Conan Doyle. The ultimate critique is whether you stay engaged or find yourself dumped overboard. That is the game and mystery of Fiercer Monsters. Youssef Alaoui delivers!"

– Michael Rothenberg, Big Bridge Magazine

"Fiercer Monsters is a colorful tapestry of stories striking and bleak, elusive and blunt. Alaoui weaves his spicy and tangy world together with gusto. He smudges edible paints on his literary canvas, molds his literary dough without fear, everything goes into his boiling, steaming cauldron and—voila!—he serves you the bright jambalaya of his own folkloric jazz. Dare to meander along his pungent alleys and sunny paths, and connect to your very own Brothers Grimm and the mysterious."

– Zarina Zabrisky, A Cute Tombstone (2013); We, Monsters (2014)

"The fiction of Youssef Alaoui illuminates the labyrinth of mysticism in the body. His book, Fiercer Monsters, navigates unique terrain ranging from the borders of legend to visceral city encounters. Alaoui combines intoxicating visions with an intellectual clarity that challenges the nature of language itself."

– John Swain, Under the Mountain Born (2015)

"Whether he is recasting the Tower of Babel story with forest creatures saved by a shamanic chihuahua, or deciphering Arabish text slang in the mind of a tortured prisoner whose last refuge—that of his imagination—is threatening to implode, Youssef Alaoui is never merely out to entertain, though the richness of his metaphors and the kookiness of his tales do not fail to charm and delight. No, Alaoui is engaged in a fiercer struggle, between cultures intent on destroying each other and themselves, in the cavernous gaps between what can be felt and known and what can be spoken and understood. Vibrantly lonely, steeped in the sad funk of human pathos, the fables and incantations in Fiercer Monsters sing from the belly, from the groin, from the broken bone, and from the whole and sheltering heart."

– Sarah Fran Wisby, The Heart's Progress (2014)


Publication Details

All of our books are printed locally in Oakland, CA. We strongly believe in supporting local publishers and local printers. 

May 2017 • 5.5 x 7.5 • 180 pp. • Trade Paper

ISBN: 978-0-9981348-2-6

Cover art by Lena Rushing

Interior and cover design by Britta Fithian-Zurn

Author Details

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