Photography by Al Jacobs

My Media Diet: Fuccboi author Sean Thor Conroe

The Brooklyn-based author’s explosive debut novel explores modern – and often toxic – masculinity through a radical viewpoint. Here’s how one of literature’s most exciting new voices spends his time off the page.

Sean Thor Conroe’s debut novel, Fuccboi, hit bookshelves just two days ago and it’s already causing a riot. It’s lauded by some as this generation’s coming of age novel and criticised by others for its alleged plagiarism of fellow author Sam Pink’s writing style (which is credited in Conroe’s acknowledgements). Either way, Fuccboi has crawled up people’s backsides in a way only the best fiction does, especially when it holds a mirror up to the cultural zeitgeist – and the reflection isn’t always so pretty.

What today’s modern man looks, feels and sounds like isn’t really a question that Conroe tries to answer in Fuccboi. Rather, he gives readers a dynamic, stream-of-consciousness insight into toxic masculinity under capitalism, at the dawn of Trump’s presidency, via weird encounters with baes” and bros”, all tied up in a not-so-neat bow. This is a world in which simply being and writing as a man feels incendiary.

Fuccbois autofictional narrative is set in Philadelphia and driven by protagonist Sean, a stimulant-fuelled Postmates delivery driver who tries to give meaning to his life in the aftermath of his and his ex’s decision to polyamorize”. Throughout, 30-year-old Conroe plucks and guts old versions of himself, before moulding them to fit a meandering tale of self-deprecation, shedding his old skin to reveal fresh, if flawed, new layers.

Conroe’s idiosyncratic prose, chopped up paragraphs and minimalist dialogue make Fuccboi an exhilerating read, as does the incorporation of phonetically spelled internet slang and textspeak. It feels uniquely of its time and is savagely funny, treading the line between wokeness and the performance of masculinity. Young male writers have been scarce in fiction lately; Conroe gives the field a much-needed shot in the arm with his intense, unapologetic voice.

If all of this has raised some questions about what the author gets up to online when he isn’t writing spineless fuck” characters with no loyalty or resolve”, you’ve come to the right place. Behold, Sean Thor Conroe’s Media Diet…

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The last article I found myself thinking about was…

The [Here Are the Young Men author] Rob Doyle’s review of Fuccboi. I respect that man’s writing a lot and felt like he really went off.

The last new artist I discovered on Spotify was…

Two rappers I’ve recently got into are Bladee and Westside Gunn, the albums 333 and Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf, respectively. Bladee’s got this childlike, sweet, gentle flow; Westside Gunn, this cold, gritty energy and really good cinematic skits.

The last podcast I spent hours listening to was…

An unreleased episode of 1storypod I recorded with a friend last month that I’ve been debating whether or not to release. Still deciding whether or not to…

The last picture I liked on Instagram was…

A post that an old writing acquaintance made of the spot in Switzerland where he’s been staying, writing and researching. I didn’t know he was in Switzerland and hadn’t heard from him in a while, so I appreciated the update.

The last TikTok I sent to a friend was…

I don’t look at TikTok!

The last series I binged (or watched a lot of) was…

How To with John Wilson.

The last Reddit thread I got sucked into was…

A thread to find a link to illegally stream a sporting event. I wasn’t able to find one.

The last book I stayed awake reading was…

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai. I’d been aware of it for a while and I’m a big fan of his daughter Yuko Tsushima’s novel Territory of Light (Dazai’s real name is Shuji Tsushima, Dazai is a pen name). I felt terrified and shaken by the bleakness of that book, unable to look away, but also unsure whether I’d recommend it. I wondered if it would have been as bleak or nihilistic if he’d written it under his real name.

The last new word I learned was…

Skooma. Which I guess means, like, drugs? Like, a skooma addict is a drug addict? Still not totally positive what it means.

The last meme that made me laugh aloud was…

The one of Kanye at a dinner table looking all disgusted at the camera with the caption Bro Did You Just Seriously …. HAVE SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE.”


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