A New York Times Notable Book of 2007Cleopatra's Nose is an exuberant gathering of essays and profiles, representing twenty years of Judith Thurman's writing, particularly her fascination with human vanity, femininity, and "women's work"--a term that, in her definition, encompasses haute couture, literature, and ruling empires. The subjects are varied--Cleopatra, Jackie Kennedy, Anne Frank; tofu, performance art, pornography--but as a whole these essays hint at the central preoccupations of a uniquely inquisitive mind.
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The Wolf at the Door
The Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft lives with her American husband, Greg Durkin, and their seventeen-month-old son, Dean, in an isolated house off a dirt road on Long Island’s North Shore. Durkin, who has worked in the movie industry as a financial analyst but is currently a graduate student in sociology, found the place by searching the Internet for properties that were within commuting distance of Manhattan and had an indoor pool. Beecroft suffers from exercise bulimia—a compulsion to burn off calories that she considers excessive—and
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The New Yorker staff writer Judith Thurman visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss her latest book, "Cleopatra's Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire." This event took place on November 27, 2007 as part of the Authors@Google series.
"Blessed with intellectual curiosity, a sharp wit and unwillingness to receive opinions, Thurman seems unlikely to produce anything less than a feat of style. . . . An excellent book."--The New York Times Book Review
"Elegant yet casual, knowledgeable without being intimidating, self-revealing but never self-indulgent . . . Open the cover and drop in anywhere. You'll find Thurman's crisp intelligence always at home."--The Boston Globe
"Thurman's essays are so deeply felt and arc so elegantly from the uniqueness of each individual to the greater conundrums of humankind, they are, indeed, exquisite works of art deserving a book's more lasting embrace."--Booklist"When paired with her ability as a biographer to peel layers and put a life into context, Thurman's grasp of global politics, history, and language can be astounding. . . . But what fun we have when the self-professed shoe addict writes about clothes and the people who worship them."--Austin American Statesman
Judith Thurman is the author of Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller and Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette. A staff writer at The New Yorker, she lives in New York City.