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Still Pictures


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About the Author

Janet Malcolm (1934-2021) was the author of many books, including In the Freud Archives; The Journalist and the Murderer; Two Lives: Alice and Gertrude, which won the 2008 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography; and Forty-One False Starts, which was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. She was a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. In 2017, Malcolm received the Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


'Superb...[The] final, splendid, most personal work of her long career.' * New York Times *
'These [Still Pictures] essays are a radical departure from everything else Malcolm wrote over the course of her career: they concern people, places, and items that populated her younger life...She used her journalistic work to explore her own mind, especially some of its more submerged corners...She knew better than most that the only thing scarier than writing about oneself is letting someone else wrest control of the narrative.' * LitHub *
'Malcolm subverts the traditional memoir by telling her story around a series of photographs. The "reluctant autobiographer" turns out to be a skilled scrapbook artist.' * Harper's Bazaar *
'From the moment you open it, the book does not present itself as a conventional memoir...Most autobiography assumes a proximity, an easy intimacy with the past, an unbroken flow. This one argues instead that memories must be fought for, interrogated, uncovered...In some sense Malcolm's book is the last argument in her career-long project to question the production of official stories, to reveal and illuminate the million vanities, exaggerations, character flaws that feed into their creation: the human error.' * Atlantic *
'Touching...What leavens Still Pictures throughout is Czech humour that, in its irreverence and intolerance for pomposity, is similar to Australian wit.' * Age *
'Quietly brilliant, beautifully meandering...A profound and transformative intervention in the field of life writing and literature generally...This book, the mature work of a writer at the end of her life but at the height of her understanding, is essentially a paean to what goes unremembered. It's a reading experience I won't readily forget.' * Saturday Paper *
'Highly evocative.' * Inside Story *
'An apt and fascinating coda to a celebrated and provocative life's work.' * Conversation *
'Selective postcards of asperity and wisdom... Its jumbled cast...are so wonderfully and lucidly sketched-a lost world to be found in their manners, their clothes, their furniture (a covered pewter bowl is a novel in itself). Even as Malcolm insists that the past issues no visas, she slips smoothly over the border, lost papers only spurring her on.' * Guardian *
'Lean, clear and powerful...[Malcolm] is very honest.' * RNZ: Nine to Noon *

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