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Author Photo of Fred Waitzkin

Fred Waitzkin On The Lifelong Friendship At The Heart Of His New Novel

Fred Waitzkin’s tender and moving Anything Is Good charts the lifelong friendship between Fred and Ralph, from their initial friendship as high school students to their eventual reunion decades later, when their lives have drastically diverged. Both young men begin as bright, curious adolescents and their intelligence leads them to exciting careers: Fred as an acclaimed writer and Ralph as a gifted mathematician and philosopher. When the long dormant secrets pinning together Ralph’s family life are exposed, Ralph’s life destabilizes and he quickly finds himself unhoused. Told in alternating perspectives, Anything Is Good explores the evolving nature of the strong bond that holds these two men together over the decades, delving into larger issues like the parts of our lives we withhold from friends and what we owe to our community. The origin of the book sprang from a real relationship in Waitzkin’s life, and he uses his considerable novelistic powers to illuminate the complicated interior lives of both men. Waitzkin’s previous work includes his memoir Searching For Bobby Fischer, and already Anything is Good is earning similar praise from critics and fellow writers, with Geraldine Brooks calling it “a deeply affecting dive into the lives of the unhoused. Its shifting perspective and changing narrative voice builds to a clarion call for greater empathy and understanding.”