We always advise each other that the best way to take off a Band-aid is to rip it- just one quick yank. In A Manual for Nothing, Jessica Anne never put the Band-aid on to begin with. Here, the wound is a world: rehearsals in a church basement, cat food, an unwanted touch, your name scraped out of Crayons. Here, the wound holds your gaze. The wound wants to play with you. This manual teaches you how.
Often the second person is distancing and abstract, but in Jessica Anne’s a manual (for nothing) it makes an intimate hum: a girl talking to herself, to her beloved, her girls, to you. Like a hive of bees suddenly pivoting from sweet to stabby, Jessica Anne’s narrative and metaphor are at once open-hearted and painful, which makes them honest. The bodies here can love, surprise, and be hurt, just like ours.
Jessica Anne’s A Manual for Nothing is so the book we need (I need) right now. A künstlerroman for the twenty-first century: A Portrait of the Artist as (Jessica Anne). The World According to (Jessica Anne). Remembrance of Lost (Jessica Anne). The Sorrows of Young (Jessica Anne). Look Homeward, (Jessica Anne). Adios, boy artists. With Patti LuPone as a spirit guide, A Manual for Nothing is a künstlerroman for and about girl artists and women artists and performance artists who want to be writer artists. A künstlerroman for all those who know the predatory mentor whose name “starts with a G-r and ends with an egg” and still kinda-sorta-hafta question what it even means to be a feminist. A künstlerroman for the silent ballerinas with perfect first positions but mute first persons. A Manual for Nothing is a künstlerroman for you, girl.
A Manual (for Nothing) es un libro inclasificable y brillante, con un sentido del humor agudo que alcanza niveles de crueldad maravillosos. Jessica Anne es una de esas escritoras a las que no quieres dejar de leer nunca.