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Forty-One False Starts

Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers

Janet Malcolm

  • awardShortlisted, National Book Critics Circle Awards, United States, 2013
  • awardShortlisted, PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, United States, 2014
  • Introduction by Helen Garner

    Forty-One False Starts is a brilliant collection of essays from one of the world’s great writers of literary non-fiction.

    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.’

    The essays, many of which first appeared in the New Yorker and 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 Guardian has 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.’

    Media and review highlights

    Australian, Helen Garner’s introduction and a review by Felicity Plunkett.
    LA Times
    Slate
    The Millions
    New Republic
    Times Literary Supplement
    An interview with Ileene Smith for Malcolm’s US Publisher, FSG.

    Janet Malcolm
    About the Author

    Janet Malcolmis the prize-winning author of many books, includingIphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial,Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, andBurdock, a volume of her photography. Malcolm writes frequently for theNew Yorkerand the New York Review of Books. She splits her time between New York City and Sheffield, Massachusetts.

    Read Moreright
    Extent:
    320pp
    Format:
    Paperback
    Text publication date:
    24 April 2013
    ISBN:
    9781922147165
    AU Price:
    $32.99
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    Praise for Janet Malcolm
    andForty-One False Starts

    ‘Janet Malcolm is one of our great non-fiction writers; her work shows that a magazine article, something we see every day, can rise to the highest levels of literature.’

    ‘Malcolm’s work inspires the best kind of disquiet in a reader—the obligation to think.’

    ‘A legendary journalist.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘She is among the most intellectually provocative of authors, able to turn epiphanies of perception into explosions of insight.’

    ‘Malcolm’s lacerating wit soars…fearless and sparkling.’

    ‘a powerfully distinctive and very entertaining literary experience’

    ‘her portraits of the storytellers, with their squirmy foibles and agendas, are glorious’

    Forty-One False Starts is a remarkable and, in its strange way, gripping piece of work. It achieves the rare feat of communicating something valuable about the largely ineffable “creative process.”’

    ‘Janet Malcolm…remains a ruthless, dazzling journalist.’

    ‘there’s nothing like watching a master at work…Malcolm’s trademark is the precision and elegance with which she identifies the heart of the matter in question’.

    ‘This is a well-laid challenge to readers to open their eyes to how they read, and how to judge.’

    Other editions ofForty-One False Starts
    • Forty-One False Starts
      ebook
      ISBN: 9781922148230
      24 April 2013
      Buy ebook