iphigenia in forest hills, by janet malcolm

Brilliant and chilling. A timely reminder that weird women (such as myself) should never get in any position where other people have power over us.

Borukhova’s contained, Cordelia-like demeanor at the defense table worked against her. Nothing came of nothing. “She had no emotion,” Jones said. “She didn’t seem upset. She wasn’t scared. If you’re innocent and being tried for murder, you’d be upset.”

Be exactly like everyone else, or suffer for it. Malcolm’s book is precision-engineered to afflict the comfortable. She is as troublesome as Helen Garner (high praise.) She’s also acute on class and privilege and their expression:

Whether to reflect the grandness of the Times or in accordance with a personal code, Barnard dressed differently from the rest of us. She wore interesting, beautiful dresses and skirts in contrast to the uninteresting jeans and corduroys and sweaters that Gorta and Bode and Pereira and I wore. Her sharp-eyed stories about the trial were as pleasing as her elegant clothes; not the least of the pleasure we took in them was the knowledge that Judge Hanophy would be irked by them.

Recommended to those with an interest in justice, women or writing.

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