Cross-Examining Janet Malcolm

Today the Los Angeles Review of Books published my review of Malcolm’s Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial. If you haven’t been paying attention to the LARB, I suggest you bookmark the page and pay it a visit daily. Since the spring they’ve published some fantastic writing by an impressive and humbling list of great writers. I just kind of conned my way in.

From the review:

Information is cumulative, but awareness is not. Awareness erodes like a beach against information’s relentlessness. The role of a writer — or of a certain type of writer — is to remind us what, individually and culturally, we know but that abundance forces us to forget. These writers enable our conscience by serving as aids to our memory. Janet Malcolm’s best work gestures to such cultural recollection. She’s authored several precise reminders that human frailty — venality, sloth, and the like — lie at the heart of scandal, and that scandal lies at the heart of human experience. Psychoanalysts harbor secrets. Journalists extol their own ethics while relying on a pliable morality. We naturally, intuitively suspect such indiscretions, and their social toxicity, but rarely with Malcolm’s penetration.

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