Nobody's Looking at You: Essays

Farrar. Feb. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9780374279493. $34; ebk. ISBN 9780374718251. LIT
Originally published in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books from the 1990s to 2018, these essays from critic Malcom (Forty-One False Starts) cover a gamut of topics and individuals, including fashion designer Eileen Fisher, pianist Yuja Wang, New York's Argosy Book Store, TV host Rachel Maddow, Sarah Palin's reality show, a hilarious piece on the perils of email, and analyses of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. The catchy title is attributed to Fisher's mother who said these words constantly to her daughter who would become hugely successful. An entry related to the confirmation of Supreme Court nominees David Souter, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito is particularly poignant when compared to contemporary proceedings. And in an excellent essay addressing the current state of Russian fiction translated into English, Malcolm parses older and newer attempts, criticizing efforts to "put Tolstoy into awkward contemporary-sounding English." This collection also contains reprints of notable book reviews, including those of Quentin Bell's Bloomsbury Recalled and a controversial biography of poet Ted Hughes.
VERDICT Highly recommended for a range of readers, especially those interested in the various topics discussed. [See Prepub Alert, 8/27/18.]—Erica Swenson Danowitz, Delaware Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Media, PA

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