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Cleopatra's Nose
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About the Author

Judith Thurman is the author of Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller and Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette. A staff writer at The New Yorker, she lives in New York City.

Reviews

While this delightful new collection of essays is culled from 20 years at the New Yorker, most have appeared since 2000. Thurman's writing in the past seven years, despite a tangent or two, displays the qualities that best serve a cultural critic: intelligence, curiosity, sharp wit and little tolerance for fools. There's an edge of imperiousness about Thurman, which is reflected in many of the people she writes about, such as the Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft, designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Rei Kawakubo, and Madame de Pompadour. Thurman writes primarily about fashion, its personages, trends and history, but there is room in this collection for some extracurricular interests, too; in addition to some fine book reviews and historical pieces, we get personal looks at the art of making tofu, the history of New York row houses and a lovely vignette of an evening spent with Jackie Onassis, smoking cigarettes and talking about men. Fashion, no longer ghettoized as a trifling women's concern, has grown increasingly popular in our cultural imagination, but it is ephemeral, dependent upon seasonal change. It is to Thurman's credit that she not only celebrates the creative exuberance of fashion but, in her intellectual probing, considers its lasting significance, too. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Thurman's latest comprises two decades' worth of New Yorker pieces written between 1987 and 2006 in a sort of career biography. These profiles and essays explore the worlds of high fashion, art, letters, and public life. Odder selections look at the history of tofu, the importance of hair in the black community, and recent census data on American professions. Whether analyzing different biographical approaches to the life of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay or scrutinizing the popularity of pearls, Thurman sees her solidly researched subjects through highly subjective eyes. The figures she profiles are varied, ranging from an array of fashion design legends to philanthropist Teresa Heinz Kerry to writers Nadine Gordimer and Andre Malraux. As a title with a built-in audience, this may be a worthy purchase for libraries subscribing to The New Yorker, particularly academic institutions and larger public libraries. It may be overlooked in smaller, general collections.-Audrey Snowden, Cleveland P.L. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette: & nbsp; " A burnished, historically opulent, elegant, distinguished work . . . A& nbsp; book that will stand as literature in its own right. " -- Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
& nbsp;
" The most impressive and fascinating book of the . . . season. No novel, no memoir, no other biography displays such insight and vitality . . . Through deft observation, research, and beautiful writing, Thurman brings alive one of the most astonishing writers and women ever to stride this earth. " -- USA Today
& nbsp; "[Colette] has been the subject of . . . a half-dozen significant biographies over the past thirty years. Yet this one by Judith Thurman will be hard to top . . . Its prose is smoothly urbane, at times aphoristic, always captivating. " -- The Washington Post Book World
Praise for "Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette: """ "A burnished, historically opulent, elegant, distinguished work . . . A book that will stand as literature in its own right." -- Richard Bernstein," The New York Times
""The most impressive and fascinating book of the . . . season. No novel, no memoir, no other biography displays such insight and vitality . . . Through deft observation, research, and beautiful writing, Thurman brings alive one of the most astonishing writers and women ever to stride this earth." "--USA Today
""[Colette] has been the subject of . . . a half-dozen significant biographies over the past thirty years. Yet this one by Judith Thurman will be hard to top . . . Its prose is smoothly urbane, at times aphoristic, always captivating." "--The Washington Post Book World"
"Blessed with intellectual curiosity, a sharp wit and unwillingness to receive opinions, Thurman seems unlikely to produce anything less than a feat of style. . . . An excellent book."--"The New York Times Book Review"

"Elegant yet casual, knowledgeable without being intimidating, self-revealing but never self-indulgent . . . Open the cover and drop in anywhere. You'll find Thurman's crisp intelligence always at home."--"The Boston Globe""Thurman's essays are so deeply felt and arc so elegantly from the uniqueness of each individual to the greater conundrums of humankind, they are, indeed, exquisite works of art deserving a book's more lasting embrace."--"Booklist
""When paired with her ability as a biographre to peel layers and put a life into context, Thurman's grasp of global politics, history, and language can be astounding. . . . But what fun we have when the self-professed shoe addict writes about clothes and the people who worship them."--"Austin Ametican Statesman"


"Blessed with intellectual curiosity, a sharp wit and unwillingness to receive opinions, Thurman seems unlikely to produce anything less than a feat of style. . . . An excellent book."--"The New York Times Book Review""Elegant yet casual, knowledgeable without being intimidating, self-revealing but never self-indulgent . . . Open the cover and drop in anywhere. You'll find Thurman's crisp intelligence always at home."--"The Boston Globe""Thurman's essays are so deeply felt and arc so elegantly from the uniqueness of each individual to the greater conundrums of humankind, they are, indeed, exquisite works of art deserving a book's more lasting embrace."--"Booklist
""When paired with her ability as a biographer to peel layers and put a life into context, Thurman's grasp of global politics, history, and language can be astounding. . . . But what fun we have when the self-professed shoe addict writes about clothes and the people who worship them."--"Austin American Statesman"


Blessed with intellectual curiosity, a sharp wit and unwillingness to receive opinions, Thurman seems unlikely to produce anything less than a feat of style. . . . An excellent book. "The New York Times Book Review" Elegant yet casual, knowledgeable without being intimidating, self-revealing but never self-indulgent . . . Open the cover and drop in anywhere. You'll find Thurman's crisp intelligence always at home. "The Boston Globe" Thurman's essays are so deeply felt and arc so elegantly from the uniqueness of each individual to the greater conundrums of humankind, they are, indeed, exquisite works of art deserving a book's more lasting embrace. "Booklist" When paired with her ability as a biographer to peel layers and put a life into context, Thurman's grasp of global politics, history, and language can be astounding. . . . But what fun we have when the self-professed shoe addict writes about clothes and the people who worship them. "Austin American Statesman""


"Blessed with intellectual curiosity, a sharp wit and unwillingness to receive opinions, Thurman seems unlikely to produce anything less than a feat of style. . . . An excellent book." --The New York Times Book Review"Elegant yet casual, knowledgeable without being intimidating, self-revealing but never self-indulgent . . . Open the cover and drop in anywhere. You'll find Thurman's crisp intelligence always at home." --The Boston Globe"Thurman's essays are so deeply felt and arc so elegantly from the uniqueness of each individual to the greater conundrums of humankind, they are, indeed, exquisite works of art deserving a book's more lasting embrace." --Booklist"When paired with her ability as a biographer to peel layers and put a life into context, Thurman's grasp of global politics, history, and language can be astounding. . . . But what fun we have when the self-professed shoe addict writes about clothes and the people who worship them." --Austin American Statesman

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