No living writer has narrated the drama of turning the messy and meaningless world into words as brilliantly, precisely, and analytically as Janet Malcolm . . . Her -influence is so vast that much of the writing world has begun to think in the charged, analytic terms of a Janet Malcolm passage. --Katie Roiphe, The Paris Review[A] master of the profile...alluring, pointed, singularly perceptive tellings. --The New Yorker Forty-One False Starts [is] a powerfully distinctive and very entertaining literary experience. . . what the reader remembers is Janet Malcolm: her cool intelligence, her psychoanalytic knack for noticing and her talent for withdrawing in order to let her subjects hang themselves with their own words. . .These short pieces [are] unmistakably the work of a master. --Adam Kirsch, The New York Times Forty-One False Starts is a remarkable and, in its strange way, gripping piece of work. It achieves the rare feat of communication something valuable about the largely ineffable 'creative process. --Zoe Heller, The New York Review of Books [An] invigorating new collection . . . keenly intelligent journalism that feels, always, as if it had been written by a human being, one with a beating heart, a moral compass, a wide-ranging curiosity, and a point of view. --Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe Even if you've been reading Janet Malcolm for years, the critical appreciations collected in Forty-One False Starts may surprise you. The title essay is (or pretends to be) a series of scrapped beginnings to her profile of the painter David Salle, a giant of the art world in vulnerable mid-career. If you want to write magazine prose, this alone should make you buy the book. Ranging from Bloomsbury to Edward Weston to J.D. Salinger, the entire book is full of stylistic daring, fine distinctions, and bold judgments set down at the speed of thought.Lorin Stein, The Paris Review online --Various
'In this collection of essays, Malcolm casts her famously penetrating eye over a disparate collection of writers and artists, living and dead. Perhaps the most interesting piece, A Girl of the Zeitgeist, perfectly captures the cartoon-like egos and theatrical self-obsession of the New York art world of the Eighties' --'Paperback of the Week', Mail on Sunday
'She approaches each subject with a dry shrewdness that is brilliant and slightly addictive' --Paperback review, Evening Standard
'Exhilarating essays on art and literature' --Paperback review, Observer
'Malcolm skewers the pretensions of biographers' --'Book of the Year', TLS
About the Author
JANET MALCOLM is widely considered to be America's pre-eminent literary journalist. She is a staff writer for the New Yorker and the author of several critically acclaimed books, including In the Freud Archives, The Journalist and the Murderer, Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey and The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, all published by Granta. She won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award in Biography for Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice [Yale University Press] in 2008. She lives in New York.