How James Lasdun Found Himself Victimized by Anti-Semitic Cyber-Stalker

Writing Was Author's Escape From Non-Stop Online Abuse

Kurt Hoffman

By Naomi Zeveloff

Published February 25, 2013, issue of March 01, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Victims of stalking are typically counseled to ignore their tormentors. Just as trying to banish an unwanted thought invariably lodges that thought in the mind, asking a stalker to stop often yields the counter effect — a fresh round of emails, phone calls, visits or letters.

To the stalker, the contact is proof that her provocations are having the desired effect. The victim cannot shake her.

After years of ignoring his stalker, or contacting her only through law enforcement, James Lasdun has broken his silence with the recent publication of his first nonfiction book, “Give Me Everything You Have.” The book tells Lasdun’s story of being harassed and, later, threatened, by an anti-Semitic former writing student of his.

If ever his stalker, whom he refers to by the pseudonym “Nasreen,” doubted her effect on him, this book should put her concerns to rest. Lasdun experiences the typical symptoms of being stalked: paranoia, sleepless nights, fear, self-doubt and the nagging feeling that he did something to bring on Nasreen’s unwanted affection and, later, hatred.

Over the course of the book, Nasreen becomes almost a mythic force, and Lasdun is compelled to deal with questions of his own reputation, honor and identity — themes that appear, not coincidentally, in his poetry and novels, such as 2003’s “The Horned Man.”

“Give me everything you have,” Nasreen demanded in an email that became the title of the book.

“I feel like at some kind of psychological level, she got it,” Lasdun told me.

Lasdun, a 54-year-old Jewish writer from England, wrote the book in less than a year, working on his computer in the small, furnished office at the back end of a cavernous barn on his Woodstock, N.Y., property where he lives in a 19th-century farmhouse with his wife, Pia Davis, and their two children.

When I interviewed Lasdun there in late January, the office walls were lined with books; they overflowed onto dusty Persian rugs on the floor. A three inch-thick stack of Nasreen’s printed emails — crumpled and clipped in bunches — lay next to the desk.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.