Fuck, the debut novel of mysterious author Stagg R. Leigh in the Oscar-nominated film American Fiction, may not be a real book. Nevertheless, a replica is now on display at Movie Madness, which has added Fuck to its impressive museum of film props.
In American Fiction, Leigh is the pseudonym of author Thelonius “Monk” Ellison (Jeffrey Wright), who pens a salacious novel, first called My Pafology and later retitled Fuck, that mocks lurid narratives of Black pain beloved by white readers.
Unfortunately for Monk, Fuck becomes an instant bestseller, wildly misunderstood by readers who delight in its narrative of crime, murder and absent fathers. In a twist that seems straight out of American Fiction, the book now sits in Movie Madness’ museum next to a Chinatown poster.
(Note: the cover of Fuck is actually attached to an entirely different book, so you can’t actually read Monk’s accidental hit.)
Directed by Cord Jefferson, American Fiction has itself been a critical success, scoring Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Wright), Best Supporting Actor (Sterling K. Brown), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Jefferson, who based the film on Percival Everett’s novel Erasure).
In his review of the film, WW’s Morgan Shaunette praised Jefferson and the cast, writing, “American Fiction may make some audiences uncomfortable, but its razor-sharp satire and engaging family drama make it both a must-watch and a serious awards contender.”
Movie Madness’ museum is the brainchild of store founder Mike Clark, who bought his first piece of cinematic memorabilia (a dress worn by Diane Keaton in The Godfather: Part II) in 1995. Since then, he’s amassed a collection of over 100 props and costumes spanning Hollywood history from Casablanca to Fight Club.