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— Dear M, Love M

The heart of this book is a series of letters exchanged between two friends in 2020. Fox and Lane-McKinley found themselves unable to work on a book left unpublished at the death of their other friend, Christopher Chitty. Chitty is the author of the posthumously published Sexual Hegemony: Statecraft, Sodomy, and Capital in the Rise of the World System, and was a committed organiser and comrade. In avoiding one book, Fox and Lane-McKinley came to write another through their conversation as it unfolded amidst Californian wildfires, the pandemic, the George Floyd uprising, and the fascistic flares of white nationalism. And, of course, grief. Remembering Chitty became a way for the two friends to make sense of the sexual politics of the long 1990s, that interminable decade in which they both came of age, both became imprinted by intimacy and its prohibition. The fag/hag emerges in their letters as a relation, at once a promise of love outside the privatised family unit and something vulnerable to capture when made to sequester anxieties about sex, gender, and the future. Before and after the letters, there are two essays, one by each author, which chart the prehistory of their friendship and their respective entries into the fag/hag relation. Together the three pieces speak to each other, as Fox and Lane-McKinley do in their epistolary register, and as they both speak to Chitty, the beloved and staunch subject of the book’s apostrophic address.


At once sprawling and compact, fag/hag illuminates the contradictions that inhere in the promise of gay communism: the ways in which queer resistance to the family-form doesn’t simply lead to its negation, but reproduces its limits in unexpected ways.

From within these contradictions, Fox and Lane-McKinley develop a gorgeous theory of friendship in the wake of its foreclosure, then shred it to pieces before beginning the analytical process over again. This is a work of avoidance — of work, of family, of mourning — but it is precisely through that avoidance that they conjure new forms of intimacy. In a time of generalized and uneven immiseration, fag/hag offers us a model to think with, not just against, our endless mourning.— Dominick Knowles


Max Fox is a writer, translator, and a founding editor of Pinko Magazine.

Madeline Lane-McKinley is the author of Comedy Against Work (Common Notions, 2022), and Dear Z (Commune Editions, 2019). She is also a co-editor of Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry


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