Fame Shark by Royal Young


Pub Date: June 2013

Author: Royal Young

fame shark

In this “Memoir Noir,” Royal Young reexamines his turbulent childhood and adolescence in New York City of the 1990s. Grappling with issues of sexuality, addiction, and self-definition, he doggedly pursues every possible path to stardom, only to find himself mired in mangled relationships. Fame Shark is an unapologetic and ultimately profound, poignant commentary on celebrity culture and love in all its forms.


“Royal Young has accomplished a rare feat in his fresh and riveting debut: he manages to recount his fascinating youth and unconventional family with a mixture of humor, scathing honesty and tenderness. Much more than simply a book about a kid who dreams of stardom, Fame Shark is a thoughtful, hilarious and moving love letter to his family and the Lower East Side of New York City.”

—Kristen Johnston, Emmy Award-winning actress and New York Times bestselling author of Guts


“Royal Young stands out as heir apparent to … literary Jews from early Philip Roth to any-time Jonathan Ames … Some books you like, some you enjoy, some you feel the need to command the air waves and scream to the masses that they either have to read immediately, or live artistically stunted lives …”

—Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight


“Royal Young’s memoir is about a dreamer, set in the post-apocalyptic celebrity world of today. Young, who grew up in New York—like Holden Caulfield, if he wanted to be famous—is looking for adventure and action, and becomes entangled in all sorts of romantic and sordid relationships. He points out the perplexing tragedy (and good fortune, I think) of what it means to be talented and rebellious, but not a celebrity.”

—Lily Koppel, bestselling author of The Astronaut Wives Club and The Red Leather Diary


Fame Shark is American Psycho meets Call It Sleep. A no-holds -barred saga of the extremes a human being can go to in his or her quest for attention. Young has the precocity and audacity of Shelley and the fearlessness of Philippe Petit.”

—Francis Levy, author of Erotomania: A Romance, and Seven Days in Rio


“Courageously confessional … Royal Young’s searing emotions burst through the page. At times I read Fame Shark through tears.”

— Jaime Lubin, The Huffington Post


“For most of us, New York is an ambition. For Royal, it’s a fact of everyday life to be among artists and drug addicts and schemers and all those shady and beautiful people the rest of us move to The City to live among. Read it for the flash and the stories, but also for a sense of the New York that is (already) fast disappearing.”

—Meakin Armstrong, Senior Editor/Fiction Editor, Guernica


“Shameless, elegant, obscene.”

—Leopoldine Core, poet and Center for Fiction Fellow


Fame Shark chronicles the hip and hilarious adventures of a neurotic, broke New York bookworm named Hazak who’s trying to escape his name, his history, his shrink parents and his Jewish guilt. Not easy when he’s surrounded by his father’s penis paintings, rich and famous friends and the ambitious heartbreaking city itself.”

—Susan Shapiro, author of Speed Shrinking, Five Men Who Broke My Heart, What’s Never Said, and more