I was explaining to an old friend of mine what I was doing and, quick as a flash, she said she had a novel I could publish, if I wanted. Did I want to read it?
I suppose the slightly flippant way I was introduced to the idea rather blind-sided me about what I was about to encounter. The truth is that her novel The Men is rather extraordinary: it is sparse and humorous and it conjures up this wild, fearless heroine, and it follows her progress through thirteen men before reaching some kind of conclusion.
Fanny Calder herself (for it is she) describes it as "hedonistic, feminist anti-romance".
It is certainly that, but it is many other things too - mildly orgiastic, definitively erotic, darkly frightening, and there are also rather a lot of wild parties. It is above all a portrait of modern urban life, rootless and occasionally desperate. It pins down something important about the kind of lives people lead now, without drawing conclusions.
I don't think anyone has written about it in quite this way before.
So I can't really take credit for discovering Fanny as a writer. She introduced me herself. Nor can I claim to have changed her life by publishing her book. But I have found publishing The Men extremely satisfying.
This is what the first review on Amazon says:
This is a quite extraordinary book. The stripped-down language matches the raw, openness of the unflinchingly honest narrative. A naked tale of urban human connections, told darkly, with both cool detachment and warm wit. You're drawn into the twisted spell of the wonderfully wild parties, recognising scenes we've all seen played out (in our naughtiest dreams?!), and catching glimpses of one's own behaviour in the complex but compelling characters that stalk off the page and into your imagination. It is a liberating, sometimes challenging, but deliciously evocative read, crafted with great passion and aplomb. An assertive debut and arguably essential reading for the feminist hedonist in your life.
I hope people buy it (it's only £1.99 on Kindle) if only so that I can see if they agree with me.
You can also buy it as a paperback and read what Fanny herself wrote about the book.