Actress Amber Tamblyn has taken a surprising path on her debut novel. Tamblyn’s Any Man (Harper Perennial) is out Tuesday and tells the tale of a female serial rapist from the point of view of her male victims.
Tamblyn is a co-founder and frequent speaker on the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment. It was founded earlier this year by Hollywood celebrities in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement, and since has raised an impressive warchest for ongoing legal defense fund.
Speaking with the New York Post, Tamblyn said she decided to explore rape and its effects from a different angle.
“It’s very rare you find a female protagonist that is violent and volatile without reason,” Tamblyn said. “I wanted to shatter that as an archetype. I wanted to create someone who did it for the reasons that people actually sexually assault other people. It’s not about sex; it’s about power. It’s important to remember that sexual assault knows no race, no gender, no class. It’s something that harms all of us.”
The female rapist goes only by an online name, Maude, stalking victims via online dating, the bar scene and in a home invasion. The victims include a poet, a college student, an older comedian and a gay right-wing conservative commentator. How they deal with the extreme violence of their attacks, which include one being sodomized with a broom, is the novel’s focus.
Tamblyn started the novel before there was a Time’s Up movement. “I started writing this three and a half years ago, and there was part of me that wondered if I should wait to put it out,” she said. “But I thought no, this is where the zeitgeist is. I’m not the only one who’s been feeling this way for years.”
The goal, Tamblyn said, is to broaden existing conversations on rape and perhaps ignite new ones. “This is so important that we include all genders. To me this book is a work of action.”