Any Other City | Hazel Jane Plante
352 pages | Arsenal Pulp Press | 4.18.23
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 there's 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.