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Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked Hardcover – 14 Feb 2013

3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; 1st edition (14 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224096621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224096621
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"What is...most riveting about this strange and unsettling book is not the grim fascination of Lasdun’s situation; it’s the moral intelligence and intensity with which he examines it." (Mark O’Connell Observer)

"Give Me Everything You Have is a reminder, as if any were needed, of how easily, since the arrival of the Internet, our peace can be troubled and our good name besmirched." (J. M. Coetzee)

"James Lasdun’s extraordinary tale of erotic obsession is so gripping...there is no greater narcotic than insanity combined with lust" (Camilla Long Sunday Times)

"A riveting memoir... This must be the most informative, the most insightful, and the most beautifully written of any account from the victim’s perspective of what has come to be called "cyberbullying"." (Joyce Carol Oates)

"An extraordinarily odd and disturbing story… The poet in him is skilled at following tiny snags of thought into marvellous, rich mini-essays." (Jenny Turner Guardian)

Book Description

A true and terrifying account of life as a stalker's obsession.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I picked this book up without ever having previously heard anything about it. It is written by someone who is educated, tolerant and self-consciously liberal in his social attitudes. He comes up against something much more primitive - a stalker who uses the internet to magnify her presence in his life. And this is not only a private stalking, the woman spurned seeks to undermine the author's reputation in ways that are insidious and damaging. Little help is available from the authorities.

This is an impressively thoughtful reflection on what must have been a very traumatic series of experiences. Sometimes it seems superhumanly tolerant and almost unreal - but what do you do in these types of situation? The author also uses the experience to reflect on other situations. I found that interesting and intelligently done, but I am not certain every reader would.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is James Lasdun's true story of being cyber-stalked for years by an ex-student whom he calls Nasreen. His initial friendliness and interest in her work were misread by Nasreen as expressions of love, though Lasdun was and is happily married and denies any flirtatious behavior. When he started receving increasingly suggestive emails he tried to back off from the relationship, only for Nasreen to oscillate between violent messages of love and even more enraged cries of hatred and revenge, mixed with anti-semitism. 'I will ruin you,' she wrote, and made every attempt to do that over the years with a stream of messages to colleagues, institutions and literary websites accusing Lasdun of plagiarism of her work and (somehow) rape by proxy. Lasdun has spent many years not only trying to get her to desist but also having to repair the reputation Nasreen has made every effort to tarnish.

I read this account as part of some research I am conducting on erotomania. I found it interesting, initially compelling, though eventually Nasreen's rantings became wearisome to me (imagine how Lasdun must have felt having to suffer them day after day). Other reviewers have found Lasdun's diversions into literature and Jewry tedious but on the whole I thought the analogies he found to his situation in such varying works as 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' and 'Strangers on a Train' quite illuminating. His own train journey, where he confesses to sexual temptation and guilt, is introspective writing of real quality. I admire his honesty in examining his own motivations and shortcomings. The book meanders and eventually peters out in Jerusalem - I thought his attempt to associate the balled-up messages posted in the crevices of the Western Wall with Nasreen's barrage of emails unconsciously self-aggrandising and grandiose as a metaphor. This is too clearly the author in search of an ending which has not presented itself in real life.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Read with caution as the usual signals are all here - names changed, etc. This could easily be the work of someone attempting to salvage their reputation after all. But I think not, and I hope not. I think we probably all know someone like 'Nazreen'. We have all at one time or another attracted the attention of someone we subsequently regretted. In this field Mr Lasdun seems to have 'bought the Tee Shirt'. Well worth a read. It may just change how you use email in future. It may make you consider very carefully everything you have ever written by email. Ever.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stalking is always an intriguing subject and it brings to mind all sorts of ideas. But in this book, intertwined with the author's harrowing experience of being stalked by his former student, is also a sort of study on how we use culture and race as emotional and social tools. We relate to one another culturally and racially, but in the same space, when things turn nasty, we use both as weapons of emotional destruction. An obsessive admiration for her former teacher turns into a violent verbal onslaught of social and racial abuse, creating more than angst and anxiety in the author. Stalking is emotional torture and it is designed to mentally destabilise and emotionally demoralise its victim. The victim almost becomes as mentally unstable as the stalker, as he is stripped of his peace of mind. It is interesting to see how the author not only deals with his stalker, but with himself and who he is as a father, a husband, a son, a Jew, a writer, a teacher. All aspects of who he is as a person is under attack by his stalker. A very intelligent book!
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Format: Hardcover
James Lasdun's tale of being stalked by a writing student he scarcely knew, a woman he had been kind to, is riveting. It went on for years, the threats, the fake emails to employers and friends, the endless anti-Semitic slurs, the attacks on websites, the constant assault on his integrity ... I stop here because I'm astounded by the story of what Lasdun endured.
The genius of the book is Lasdun's change in the way he viewed himself, as though he were guilty of something he couldn't identify. The book walks steadily onwards, like footfalls in the dark behind you.
Lasdun is a profoundly intelligent man who recounts his suffering calmly. What goes unsaid is that this could happen--in fact of course it has happened many times--to anyone at all, for any reason. Lasdun has a marvellous talent for spareness and analysis. There's something heartbreaking about that. Anyone else would have been screaming.
This is the real-life version of Ian McEwan's novel, Enduring Love. It is painful to read but fascinating and enlightening.
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