Nobody’s Looking at You: Essays

Janet Malcolm. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-27949-3
Malcolm (Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers) assembles an eclectic group of essays, mainly culled from the New Yorker and New York Review of Books, most of them from the past decade, into this outstanding collection. Varied and witty, the book includes profiles of such people as fashion designer Eileen Fisher, with her “aesthetic of elegant plainness” and concert pianist Yuja Wang, “whose tiny dresses and spiky heels” draw attention to the contrast between her petite frame and the “forcefulness she achieves at her instrument.” Several essays are literary critiques, touching on, among other points, New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell’s ability to “bend actuality to [his] artistic will” and how Tolstoy follows the “deep structures” of dream logic in Anna Karenina. Malcolm also explores the differing ways millennials and baby boomers view sexual harassment, email etiquette, and the high-stakes drama of John Roberts’s Supreme Court nomination hearings, where little was learned about his judicial philosophy, but revelations about character emerged. With no weak selections and several strikingly prescient ones, this collection shows its author as a master of narrative nonfiction. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2018
Release date: 02/19/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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