Excerpt

Any Man

Amber Tamblyn

July 2, 2018 
The following is from Amber Tamblyn's debut novel, Any Man. Maude is a violent serial rapist—and she's on the loose. Her male victims all face feelings of shame and alienation as they recount their stories to the police. Amber Tamblyn is an author, actress, and director. Most recently, she wrote and directed Paint it Black, based on the novel by Janet Fitch. She has written three books of poetry, including the best-seller Dark Sparkler.

Three fingers.
Donald Ellis.
Watertown. New York.
Yes, forty-seven years old.
Yes, an MFA in creative writing.
A poet.
No, I don’t write anymore.
Yes, I teach kids.
No, I didn’t mean to go to the bathroom while lying here.
No,
I don’t want to hang on.
Yes, I understand I will survive this.
No,
I don’t remember a face.
No, I don’t know how this happened.
No,
I don’t want to cry.
Yes, I had some drinks.
Yes, I can still feel my legs.
No, I still can’t feel my genitals.
Yes, I can see the church from the ambulance window.
No, I’ve never lost anything in the ocean.
No, I don’t know what time the cemetery closes.
No,
there was not enough room when we were kids.
No, it wasn’t my mother’s fault.
Yes, I feel alone.
Yes, I believe in God.
No, I do not want to pray.
Yes, I did see a ghost once when I was ten.
No, I can’t remember the words to any songs right now.
Yes, everything is on fire.
No, I don’t want you to put it out.
Yes, everyone’s face is a blur.
No, I won’t be hungry again.
Yes, I’m done with eating for the rest of my life.
Yes, I think the driver is humming something my grand- mother used to.
No, she didn’t tell me.
Yes, I think that’s her in the car driving behind us.
No, she passed away years ago.
Yes, I understand I’ve lost blood.
Yes, I understand you may not be able to save it.
No, please
don’t give me the details.
No, I don’t want to talk to the press.
No,
I have no comment.
Yes, I understand I’m going to be fine.
No, I do not want to wake up after the surgery.
Yes, I’m still breathing.
No, I am no longer livable.
Yes, I’m a schoolteacher.
Yes, second-grade.
Yes, I’m married.
Camilla.
Fifteen years.
No, please don’t call her. Don’t tell her.
No, I don’t want her to see me like this.
Yes, two. Amanda and Jake. Ten and seven.
Yes, I do. Very much.
Yes, I would like to cry now.
Yes, I understand.
Yes, I am scared.
Yes, I can still feel the pain.
No, please don’t tell anyone.
No, I’m not ready.

__________________________________

From Any Man. Used with permission of Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 2018 by Amber Tamblyn.

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