Jamie Stewart’s debut novel Anything That Moves begins with an author’s note. It reads:
“If we are related, please, for the love of God, do not read this book.”
The book charts the more notable sexual exploits of the author’s history across 31 chapters. It’s true that familial dysfunction, self-flagellation (of the non-erotic variety), and moral chaos take as much as part of the narrative as the expanse of sexual tales do here.
Those familiar with Stewart’s band Xiu Xiu will have their sea legs in their distinct ability to confront the terror of mortality and the irony of the underwhelming thud of life with a blunt humor that reads as tongue-in-cheek as it does eviscerating in its honesty.
Jamie Stewart has made a career of inhabiting this space, and with their debut book Anything That Moves, Stewart very much takes the throne there.
Xiu Xiu songs are often packaged in pummelling power electronics and vocals delivered with an emotional intensity that leave you hoping they aren’t in fact autobiographical. Ranging from the earliest sexual awakenings of their youth to the depths of sexual depravity years into being on the road with their band, these personal accounts leave no question of the brutal reality of their origin in Stewart’s life.
Like some sort of a post-MTV Marquis de Sade, Stewart’s stories are at once horrifying, hilarious, tragic, and often just fucking disgusting. Anything That Moves is a visceral read that you can take to the beach. The stories are frequently quite hot, but this is not erotica—they veer bareback into extremely uncomfortable territory. That discomfort takes many forms—and although heavy, Stewart navigates the thud of life with a refreshing candidness.
It should be mentioned that the book does explore some of the more unsavoury aspects of sexual self-discovery that crosses into (and for the most part remains in) some potentially, if not likely triggering territory for its readers. The following interview may do so as well (this is your content warning)!
Earlier in the month, Xiu Xiu released their album Ignore Grief (stream the album right here):
We talked to Jamie about the parallels between their work as a musician and their newfound role as an author, how the horror of sex can make you a better person, and the origins of unforgettable pick up lines such as, “Hey, little mommy, let’s fuck.”
If there’s a seat belt in your sex sling, its most definitely time to buckle up for this negligently naughty must-read book of the summer.
Experience our very raw conversation with Stewart interspersed with spicy excerpts from the book, after the jump!