Janet Malcolm, a Writer Who Emphasized the Messiness of Life With Slyness and Precision

The longtime staff writer for The New Yorker, who died on Wednesday at 86, was most animated by divided selves and the inherent complexity of human relationships.

By Jennifer Szalai

Whenever I would begin to read anything by Janet Malcolm, my expectations were split in two: a soothing sense that it would be confidently and exactingly written, paired with an apprehension — an almost exquisite dread — of the startling truths it was bound to reveal.

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