The Book of Anna by Joy Ladin
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THE BOOK OF ANNA is written in the voice of Anna Asher, a fictional Czech-German Jew who spent her adolescence in a concentration camp and now lives in 1950s Prague answering phones for the secret police. This genre-defying book of prose diary entries and autobiographical poems offers intimate glimpses of Anna’s present–her writing process, relationships with neighbors, obsessive sexual behavior, chain-smoking, and idiosyncratic exploration of Jewish tradition–while the poems recount her unsparing efforts to reckon with horror, survival, and their aftermath. Written in the midst of Joy Ladin’s gender transition, this book asks provocative questions about the meaning of trauma, gender, suffering and empathy that speak to our current historical moment in haunting and indelible ways. This second edition of a classic text of trans literature features a new afterword by the author, “Anna and Me,” reflecting on this book’s pivotal importance for the development of the author’s poetics and identity.
Year first published: 2021