Janet Malcolm is an author and a journalist at The New Yorker. Her books include Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey, The Crime of Sheila McGough, and The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Born in Prague, she grew up in New York and lives there now with her husband, Gardner Botsford.
Malcolm's ( In the Freud Archives ) fascination with psychoanalysis permeates the 16 erudite and assured essays, reviews and reports assembled here. Their range, however, is broad. Malcolm analyzes new interpretations of Freud's Dora case and wittily assesses a book on French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, The Death of an Intellectual Hero by Stuart Schneiderman. She proposes that the autobiographies of the gay explorer Tobias Schneebaum ``are like the three stages of an analysis,'' observes that Vaclav Havel's prison letters to his wife suggest ``the behavior of the supine member of the psychoanalytic couple'' and wonders about the tension in Ved Mehta's memoirs between the ``narrating adult'' and the ``experiencing child.'' Her reports--on so-called structural family therapy, on one-time Artforum editor Ingrid Sischy and on a trip to Prague in April 1990--exhibit the same intellectual rigor but have a leavening of detail and dialogue that makes them more accessible. Most of these pieces first appeared in the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. (Nov.)
"Why don't more people write like [Malcolm]?... She is cast from the mold of the Eastern European intellectual: beholden to modernism. as familiar with Kundera's exile as she is with Freud's Vienna. This sensibility must grant her the detachment she sometimes so mercilessly employs, but it also gives her an unassailable passion for getting to the center of things."
-- Boston Globe