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Janet Malcolm’s previous collection, Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers, was ‘unmistakably the work of a master’ (New York Times Book Review). Like Forty-One False Starts, Nobody’s 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, ‘Nobody’s looking at you.’ But in every piece in this volume, Malcolm looks closely and with impunity at a broad range of subjects, from Donald Trump’s TV nemesis Rachel Maddow, to the stiletto-heel-wearing pianist Yuju Wang, to ‘the big-league game’ of Supreme Court confirmation hearings. In ‘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 literature’s greatest masters of manipulative techniques’.
Nobody’s Looking at You consolidates Janet Malcolm’s reputation as one of the greatest non-fiction writers at work today.
‘Malcolm’s work inspires the best kind of disquiet in a reader—the obligation to think.’
‘A legendary journalist.’
‘She is among the most intellectually provocative of authors, able to turn epiphanies of perception into explosions of insight.’
‘Janet Malcolm…remains a ruthless, dazzling journalist.’
‘With no weak selections and several strikingly prescient ones, this collection shows its author as a master of narrative nonfiction.’ (starred review)