A Left-Handed Woman: Essays (Hardcover)

A Left-Handed Woman: Essays By Judith Thurman Cover Image

A Left-Handed Woman: Essays (Hardcover)


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A collection of essays from Judith Thurman, the National Book Award–winning biographer and New Yorker staff writer.

Judith Thurman, a prolific staff writer at The New Yorker for more than two decades, has gathered a selection of her essays and profiles in A Left-Handed Woman. They consider our culture in all its guises: literature, history, politics, gender, fashion, and art, though their paramount subject is the human condition.

Thurman is one of the preeminent essayists of our time—“a master of vivisection,” as Kathryn Harrison wrote in The New York Times. “When she’s done with a subject, it’s still living, mystery intact.”

Judith Thurman is the author of Cleopatra’s Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire; Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, winner of the National Book Award for Autobiography/Biography; and Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette. A staff writer at The New Yorker, she lives in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9780374607166
ISBN-10: 0374607168
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: December 6th, 2022
Pages: 432
Language: English


"Judith Thurman notices everything. Meticulous observation has been a hallmark of her 50-year career as a writer whose laser-sharp gaze traverses millenniums, countries and genres . . . A strong through-line that distinguishes Ms. Thurman’s multifarious work is her determination to bring light to the hidden corners of culture, particularly those occupied by brilliant women." —Rhonda Garelick, The New York Times

"[Thurman] taught me things I never knew about writing and the world we live in." —Ann Patchett, The Wall Street Journal

"Thurman has now collected fifteen years of New Yorker pieces . . . To it she brings the same carbon- into- diamonds trick she performed with her full lives, offering—in what she termed in a 2020 lecture 'haiku biographies'—something closer to stills than film . . . [Thurman] pulverizes clods of research. She is wildly, often thrillingly allusive . . . [Her] voice is so exact it can pinch. Her prose has high cheekbones." —Stacy Schiff, New York Review of Books

"The biographer and essayist Judith Thurman is known in part for her exquisitely crafted profiles. In this collection — largely composed of New Yorker portraits of notable women — Thurman indulges her love of all things aesthetic with characteristic skill and occasional piquancy. Definitions of beauty may differ; Thurman’s style is unquestionable." The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

"Judith Thurman can get me to read pretty much anything she writes... you can rest assured that there’s a point to whatever Ms. Thurman weighs in on—be it Emily Dickinson, Helen Gurley Brown, Charles James, Rachel Cusk, Simone de Beauvoir or Dante." —Heller McAlpin, Wall Street Journal

"Extraordinary and unconventional women have long been the object of [Judith] Thurman's forensic gaze . . . Like many writers with whom she bears comparison—Joan Didion, Janet Malcolm, Susan Sontag—Thurman is often a character in her own work: cruising through Bergdorf’s, pedaling through France, motionless in the perfect darkness of a cave. She is a polyglot and a chameleon, precise, erudite, forthright." —Charles Arrowsmith, Los Angeles Times

"The collected essays of Judith Thurman, best known for her magnificent biographies of Colette and Isak Dinesen. These New Yorker pieces by an exemplary cultural journalist largely focus on the achievements of women in multiple fields . . . In an introduction, Thurman notes that 'the writers I most admire never use a careless word.' Neither does she." —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"If a thoughtful essay holds a world, Judith Thurman's A Left-Handed Woman is a solar system." —Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune

"In this rewarding collection, Thurman brings together a remarkably varied collection of her New Yorker essays . . . The author approaches each topic with a fresh eye. [A Left-Handed Woman] solidifies Thurman as a master of the form." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Thurman shows herself as the best kind of journalist: one singularly focused on the humanity of her subjects . . . a book that should be savored, not devoured." —Mara Sandoff, New City Lit

"A Left-Handed Woman by New Yorker staff writer Judith Thurman deserves the top spot on anyone's bedside book stack." —Patricia Schultheis, Washington Independent Review of Books

"A Left-Handed Woman is a treasure trove of brilliant essays about smart and compelling women written by the smart and compelling Judith Thurman. Buy this for anyone you admire (including yourself)." —Musing

"[An] exceptional collection of zestful essays and profiles . . . ardent, shrewd, and stylistically exhilarating . . . As one of our finest cultural critics, Thurman is always exciting company." —Donna Seaman, Booklist

"A collection of essays from an incisive cultural observer . . . Thurman’s interests are capacious: lost language speakers, hyperpolyglots, Cleopatra, and, not least, art and artists . . . Finely crafted, graceful, captivating pieces." —Kirkus Reviews