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Susie Hits the Streets

August 22, 2021

No, Susie Alioto, protagonist of The Bourgeois Anarchist, hasn’t taken to prostitution. As a lifelong, principled anarchist, she would support anyone’s freedom to choose that profession but, for herself, would eschew any hint of trading sex for capitalist compensation. In the novella, oddly, she may find herself in such a situation unwittingly. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

What I meant by the headline “hits the streets” is that the book is finally published. It’s available on capitalist Amazon, less capitalist Bookshop.org, and elsewhere. Because I’m a klutz at publicity, Susie has to get out there and shill for herself. If you see her hawking the book on a street corner, be kind and toss her a nickel.

So far I have managed to do one interview on her behalf, published today on Hasty Book List by Ashley Hasty. Though I’d rather hide under the sofa than do an interview, this one wasn’t too bad. In a sense it represents my coming out. I reveal myself as a fashion leader and also as a long-time devotee of Jane Austen. The latter, at least, may be rather shameful for a hetero male writer, but I don’t care, I’ll flaunt it.

Years ago, when I was working on my novel The Shame of What We Are, very loosely based on my own childhood, I had the teenage male protagonist reading Jane Austen. Early readers, especially female friends, told me that was implausible, so I switched his literary interest to Isaac Asimov, whom I had also read as a teen. Jane was miffed at being left out, so now in this post, and in the linked interview, I’m trying to make it up to her.

An anecdote to show the silliness of my devotion: At some point I had checked out a hardcover edition of Pride and Prejudice from my local library, and I refused to return it. When the library tried to fine me, I even perjured myself by arguing that the missing book was their mistake. I can still picture my skinny little self lying to the fearsome, and much taller, lady librarian, who loomed over me behind her Counter of Authority. There was nothing special about that edition: its cover a plain blue or green, a library binding stamped on the spine only. But I may still have it—and I won’t give it back.