Nineteen years ago Clifford Chase published his first memoir, The Hurry-Up Song, about his gay brother's death from aids. He followed it with a favorite anthology, Queer 13, and a strange, satiric novel that David Rakoff loved called Winkie [Kindle] about a teddy bear charged with treason, terror, and witchcraft.
Now comes his second gay memoir, which Amazon named as a Book of the Month and Lisa Cohen chose for Thebes' poll. In brief fragments reflecting the broken nature of memory, The Tooth Fairy [Kindle] covers his boyhood misery and his longtime boyfriend, his ailing, angry parents, his joy in the B-52s and his brother, and his confused affair with a woman. As he writes, "I like to mingle love with panic, self-doubt, and conjecture."
The Minneapolis Star Tribune praised him for "resisting the urge to rationalize and overexploit. In the process, he avoids writing the tidy tales of self-redemption that so many memoirs are. So many memoirs strive to simplify lives. The chief virtue of The Tooth Fairy is how well it complicates them."
Wayne Koestenbaum: "I’m wild about The Tooth Fairy, a riveting and deeply moving creation. Clifford Chase transforms sex and grief into exquisitely tuned sentences, whose wit and concision magically neutralize loss. Line after line, he feeds the reader a concentrated opiate of insight, hilarious as stand-up comedy, and as glittering as an imagist poem."
Caleb Crain: "Clifford Chase’s memory has sent him a series of telegrams—precise and tender observations that call to mind the 'I Remember's' of Joe Brainard. They’re sad and they’re funny, and they tell a brave and moving story of loss, survival, and belated understanding."
Lisa Cohen: "Clifford Chase reinvents the memoir—thrillingly—with these stanzas in meditation, excruciation, and exultation. His profound self-scrutiny, aphoristic elegance, lyrical gifts, and cracked hilarity unlock ‘crucial but shrouded’ moments of personal and collective history, and are a tonic. Read this book out loud. Believe in it."