For readers of Women Who Run with the Wolves and The Body Keeps the Score, Monarch is both fiercely intelligent and compellingly readable.
On the surface, Monarch is a novel about a girl named Jessica who grows up in the ’90s in the beauty pageant circuit, learning how to intuit what other people want and to deliver it, thanks to her pageant coach, who teaches her how to “mirror.” Only later does she realize her life is the result of a CIA experiment and that she’s an unwitting spy and assassin who regularly has her memory wiped by her father, a renowned expert on human consciousness. In many ways, Jessica’s life is saved by her riot grrrl babysitter, and by the fellow pageant girl she falls in love with.
Beneath this, there’s a more universal story about how the mind protects the psyche from trauma through depersonalization; how many of us have to learn to cultivate a true self beneath an exterior of socially conditioned behaviors, manners, skills, and manufactured desires; and how women often knowingly oppress other women for personal gain within a patriarchal structure they cannot overcome.
Praise for Candice Wuehle:
Candice Wuehle has a masterful lens on the veiled extraordinary of our world. — CA Conrad
Wuehle uses poetry as a conduit between bewilderment and forecast, utterance and occult, trauma and pain song, archive and dirt. — Caryl Pagel
- English manuscript (unedited) available