When I picked up Any Man last year, I was sorely unprepared. For the intensity. For the nausea. For the raking abyss that engulfed me and slowly bubbled up with rage. For the fun house mirror that clarified instead of warping my perception, the razor sharp focus of cutting nuance. For the utter adoration of you that its radiating discomfort brought to me.
Any Man is a stunning, visceral experience of a novel, and if I’m frank, I hated that I couldn’t put it down. My stomach roiled, my pulse pounded. I cringed and wept. I raged. I have struggled to find a character in my literary experience I detest more than Marsha. It has lingered in me, on me, soaking into the air around me.
I understood something I hadn’t before, after reading it.
In its pages I found—to greater horror than any single detail you wrote could have brought me—that following the journeys of men resonated in me with a new weight and import and enormity. Admitting that feels like a betrayal. Like I failed myself. You brought me face to face with the buried conspiratorial truth of my own complicity in lessening female stories of assault. But having discovered it, being able to unwrite it, is a victory I will always share with you.
And seeing you speak! You somehow transcended the incredible esteem I’d found in your writing with the knowledge of how coherently and immaculately you rendered your vision. The conversations I had fervently begun with friends, and the commentary that I was unraveling weren’t happenstance connections. They were the very soul of your intention in creating this horrifyingly cognizant novel. It is a gloriously realized purpose, acute and aware and astounding. It is a masterpiece.
I have already had the privilege of shaking your hand and sharing with you how deeply this book impressed me, yet I still find the brief moment I spent with you far too short to express the depth of the effect you have had on me. You have laid bare unseen pieces of me, and offered me new words with which to express and understand myself. In so doing, you have claimed a piece of me—a grateful, perhaps slightly disturbed, ever growing in self-awareness piece of me—as your own. And between us, I’m already enjoying what comes next.
Yours in ignition,