From the acclaimed novelist (Henry and Clara, Two Moons), essayist (A Book of One’s Own), and critic (1998 National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing)—an engaging new collection of essays.
In Fact gathers the best of Thomas Mallon’s superb criticism from the past twenty-two years—essays that appeared in his GQ column, “Doubting Thomas,” and in The New York Times Book Review, The American Scholar, The New Yorker, and Harper’s, among other publications. Here are his evaluations of the work of contemporary writers such as Nicholson Baker, Peter Carey, Tom Wolfe, Do DeLillo, Joan Didion, and Robert Stone, and reassessments of such earlier twentieth-century figures as John O’Hara, Sinclair Lewis, Truman Capote, and Mary McCarthy. Mallon also considers an array of odd literary genres and phenomena—including book indexes, obituaries, plagiarism, cancelled checks, fan mail, and author tours. And he turns his sharp eye on historical fiction (his own genre) as well as on the history, practice, and future of memoir.
Smart, unorthodox, and impassioned, this collection is an integral piece of an important literary career and an altogether marvelous read.
THOMAS MALLON is the author of ten novels, including Henry and Clara, Dewey Defeats Truman, Fellow Travelers, and Watergate. Fellow Travelers has been made into a contemporary opera that is regularly performed throughout the United States. Mallon is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Times… More about Thomas Mallon
“It is inclusive . . . but not a bit long-winded. It is learned but never pedantic. It is also charming, diverting, and exceptionally intelligent. The book is literary criticism, yet it is something more—a knowing, sympathetic, but not soppy commentary on humanity.” —Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker
“Mallon, who has read hundreds of diaries, has written a marvelous book about them. It is a basket full of good things, and some of the best are his own.” —Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism
“[T]he wonder of Stolen Words is that it remains specific and detailed yet manages to cover so much ground and blow away so much of the fog surrounding plagiarism.” —Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times