Published: April 2013
An extraordinary showcase of work from one of the world's greatest essayists.
Janet Malcolm, writes David Lehman in the Boston Globe, 'is among the most intellectually provocative of authors, able to turn epiphanies of perception into explosions of insight'.
In Forty-one False Startsone of the world's great writers of literary non-fiction brings together for the first time essays published over several decades. The pieces, many of which first appeared in the New Yorkerand the New York Review of Books, reflect Malcolm's preoccupation with artists and their work. Her subjects are painters, photographers, writers, and critics. She delves beneath the "onyx surface" of Edith Wharton's fiction, appreciates the black comedy of the Gossip Girl novels, and confronts the false starts of her own autobiography.
As the Guardianhas said, 'Her books bring a gimlet-eyed clarity to often fraught and complicated subjects and are so lean, so seamless, so powerfully direct, they read as if they have been written in a single breath.'
Janet Malcolmis the prize-winning author of many books, including Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial, Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, and Burdock, a volume of her photography. Malcolm writes frequently for the New Yorkerand the New York Review of Books. She splits her time between New York City and Sheffield, Massachusetts.
'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.' Paris Review
'Malcolm's work inspires the best kind of disquiet in a reader - the obligation to think.' Jeffrey Toobin
'A legendary journalist.' Laura Miller