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Nobody's Looking at You
Nobody's Looking at You: Essays | Janet Malcolm
1 post | 2 read | 6 to read
One of the premier narrative non-fiction writers of her time. The New Republic Janet Malcolms previous collection, Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers, was unmistakably the work of a master (The New York Times Book Review). Like Forty-One False Starts, Nobodys Looking at You brings together previously uncompiled pieces, mainly from The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. The title piece of this wonderfully eclectic collection is a profile of the fashion designer Eileen Fisher, whose mother often said to her, Nobodys looking at you. But in every piece in this volume, Malcolm looks closely and with impunity at a broad range of subjects, from Donald Trumps TV nemesis Rachel Maddow, to the stiletto-heel-wearing pianist Yuju Wang, to the big-league game of Supreme Court confirmation hearings. In an essay called Socks, the Pevears are seen as the sort of asteroid [that] has hit the safe world of Russian Literature in English translation, and in Dreams and Anna Karenina, the focus is Tolstoy, one of literatures greatest masters of manipulative techniques. Nobodys Looking at You concludes with Pandoras Click, a brief, cautionary piece about e-mail etiquette that was written in the early two thousands, and that reverberatesalbeit painfullyto this day.
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This is a collection of previously published essays. Malcolm is at her best with the celebrity profiles. Her writing is phenomenal. However, the political pieces are just old enough to feel dated but not yet historical.