“I Will Ruin Him” is a haunting story by James Lasdun, who found himself a victim of stalking by a former M.F.A. student of his:
It’s one thing to be abused in private: You experience it almost as an internal event, not so different from listening to the more punitive voices in your own head. But to have other people brought into the drama is another matter. It confers a different order of reality on the abuse: fuller and more objective. This strange, awful thing really is happening to you, and people are witnessing it.
Along with the accusations of theft, Janice had also received details of my supposed (but equally fictitious) affairs with Nasreen’s former classmates, complete with descriptions of various kinky sexual practices that Nasreen claimed to have heard I went in for. (She had an uncanny way with that transparent yet curiously effective device of rumor, the unattributed source: “I’m told he …” “I hear he …” “Everyone knows he ….”)
The abrupt ending, though? It’s because the essay is a prelude to Lasdun’s new book Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked.