Saturday, November 17, 2007
Books on the Dismemberment Plan
Christopher Frizelle reviews Janet Malcolm's Gertrude Stein bio over at The Stranger:
Malcolm writes: "She seemed to shine when she walked into a room, and the work, even at its most hermetic, possesses a glitter that keeps one reading long past the time when it is normal to stop reading a text that makes no sense." This shine, this special something, is related to the mystery of how Stein and her girlfriend, Alice B. Toklas, two aging Jewish lesbians living in France, survived the Nazis—a friend of theirs was a bad guy, "one of the very worst guys," Malcolm writes—which is the focus of the first section of the book. In the second section, Malcolm reads (and reports back on, since almost no one has read it, including academics) Stein's The Making of Americans. "I finally solved the problem of the book's weight and bulk," Malcolm writes, "by taking a kitchen knife and cutting it into six sections."