Any Other City
By the author of Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian): the fictional memoir of a trans indie rock musician that reveals how the act of creation can heal trauma and even change the past.
Any Other City is a two-sided fictional memoir by Tracy St. Cyr, who helms the beloved indie rock band Static Saints. Side A is a snapshot of her life from 1993, when Tracy arrives in a labyrinthine city as a fledgling artist and unexpectedly falls in with a clutch of trans women, including the iconoclastic visual artist Sadie Tang.
Side B finds Tracy, now a semi-famous musician, in the same strange city in 2019, healing from a traumatic event through songwriting, queer kinship, and sexual pleasure. While writing her memoir, Tracy perceives how the past reverberates into the present, how a body is a time machine, how thereâs power in refusing to dust the past with powdered sugar, and how seedlings begin to slowly grow in empty spaces after things have been broken open.
Motifs recur like musical phrases, and traces of what used to be there peek through, like a palimpsest. Any Other City is a novel about friendship and other forms of love, travelling in a body across decades, and transmuting trauma through art making and queer sex - a love letter to trans femmes and to art itself.
I loved this book. Plante masterfully depicts the plurality that is woven into the lives of transwomen. Any Other City dances you through the walls of fact and fiction, of time and place, to give us a heart-wrenchingly beautiful glimpse of a life lived through many lives. This is the vulnerable, loving, gorgeous, sexy trans dyke novel I didn't know I needed. Like a timeless song, there is always another layer, another meaning, another story, within these words. Any Other City not only shows us thrilling trans-positive sex, it also provides a picture of healing from an abusive ex. All with so much love, it hurts so good to read. -jiaqing wilson-yang, author of Small Beauty
I wanted to luxuriate and soak in Hazel Jane Plante's trans demimonde, bubbling over with queer desire, scented with longing. A hall of mirrors refracting space and time, Any Other City interweaves heartbreak, art-making, guitars and drums, all with electric aplomb and vigor. -Bishakh Som, author of Apsara Engine
Hazel Jane Plante has given us another inventive wonder to sing about. Any Other City is a fictive memoir, a letter to two ex-lovers, a portrait of a trans punk musician as a young artist, and a healing spell for collective release. From Side A to Side B, it's sweet and sly, hot and wise; it glimmers with humble brilliance. Like the best mixtape a friend-crush could give you, this book will hit all the messy big feelings and impress you to pieces in the process. -Megan Milks, author of Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body
Hazel Jane Plante's Any Other City is absorbing, funny, hot, tender, and punk AF. Her characters are so vividly rendered that it feels like Plante has actually manifested her novel's conceit: a musician who is a DIY punk icon and a trans woman invites a fictionalized version of Plante to collaboratively write a hybridized, experimental memoir. Both Plantes deliver and the writing is wise and raw, joyful and subversive, messy and real. Heartbreak and pain drive some of the plot, but Plante also ensures that pleasure and creativity and creation are given equal space. Gloriously visceral sex scenes abound, provocative art installations are genuinely immersive and thrilling, and there's tangible exhileration and exhaustion in the fits and stops of songwriting (and finding ways back to ourselves through our art). Any Other City will get inside your head and your heart, and it will change you in the best possible ways. -Andrea Warner, author of Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography and We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the '90s and Changed Canadian Music