In Filthy Creation, Dylan makes sense of her world through art. Her house is a graveyard of inspiring auto parts her mechanic father has dragged home, her family’s ongoing Frankenstein diorama, and Dylan’s own mishmash of assemblage projects that she sets on fire whenever they don’t meet her standards. Dylan and Shay fall in artsy, gothy, queer love even as Dylan is figuring out that her dead dad—whose ghost has been visiting her even though she doesn’t believe in such things—was not in fact her biological father, but who was? As Dylan tries to find out, and find herself as an artist, she gets sucked into the world of visiting art teacher, Simon Ambrogio—learning to box and to embrace the more violent side of creativity, and running away from her secret-keeping mother. But she has raw and passionate artwork, and shouldn’t that be enough? Filthy Creation asks what it means to be a girl maker. How do girls fit into the false dichotomy between brilliant, monstrous men artists and supposedly domesticated women ones? And how can a young artist even figure out her own identity amid all this noise?
“It’s a shame Mary Shelley isn’t around to offer a blurb for this tender, luminous portrait of the art monster as a modern teen. Filthy Creation has so much to say about art, gender, loss, and broken dreams. It’s also a triumphant coming-of-age page-turner whose young heroine grabs your heart from the first page and never lets go."
—James Tate Hill, author of Blind Man’s Bluff
“If, as the poet Rilke noted, beauty is the beginning of a terror we are only just able to bear, Caroline Hagood’s novel Filthy Creation shows us how to bear it. Continuing the investigation into monsters, misfits and trauma that she launched with her brilliant book-length essay, Weird Girls: Writing the Art Monster, Hagood brings Dr. Frankenstein and his creation together in the form of a visionary young woman named Dylan who is one-third pyromaniac, one third-Picasso, and one-third Poirot. To follow Dylan through this book is to follow one’s own dreams, to befriend one’s most troubling and beloved ghosts.”
—Sharon Mesmer, author of Greetings From My Girlie Leisure Place
“What splendid strangeness is this? Love story, loss story, weird and wild escapade, artistic quest … all of these and such fun. Caroline Hagood’s Filthy Creation explores the peaks and pits that come with making art (and growing up), through the experiences of the singularly awesome narrator, Dylan. “This was the only way I knew how to love something,” this irrepressible character confesses, “by wanting to taste every part of it, and this was too much. I was too much,” and oh, how I loved her too-muchness and this novel’s so-muchness. Profound, poignant, ferocious, hilarious. A glorious romp.”
—Melissa Ostrom, author of Unleaving
“Hagood’s Filthy Creation is a brutal yet beautiful coming of age novel about what it’s like to lose a parent, while at the same time finding out who you are as an artist.”
—Erika Wurth, author of White Horse