cover image Give Me Everything You Have: 
On Being Stalked

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked

James Lasdun. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-374-21907-9

When novelist and poet Lasdun (Beseiged) began receiving deranged anti-Semitic electronic correspondence from a former student, he entered a “realm of stricken enchantment in which technology and... the primitive mind... converge[d] with the paranoias peculiar to our own age.” In this insightful, discursive memoir, Lasdun’s tale of being stalked is only part of the story—his disembodied, if mentally violent, encounters with “Nasreen,” his stalker, lead him to reflect on topics as diverse as the seductive power of literature, like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the writings of D.H. Lawrence, and his father’s work as an architect in Israel and the aggressively anti-Semitic response it provoked. The “verbal terrorism” (Nasreen’s phrase) escalates as the book goes on, but it’s almost a red herring—it is indeed terrifying, and as the stalker becomes more sophisticated, she begins tormenting his friends and colleagues. But Lasdun is able to see past the surface-level effects of her attacks to the desperate and pitiable person behind them. This subtle, compassionate take on the subject is rife with insights into the current cyberculture’s cult of anonymity, as well as the power, failure, and magic of writing. Agent: Irene Skolnick, Irene Skolnick Literary Agency. (Feb. 12)