07/11/2011 05:41 pm ET | Updated Sep 10, 2011

Janet Malcolm In Paris Review On Journalism, Her Life

Though I will make the trip up the ele­vator to Janet Malcolm's stately town-­house apartment, overlooking Gramercy Park, three times in the course of this unusual interview, the substance of our exchange will take place by ­e-mail, over three and a half months.

The reason for this is that Janet Malcolm is more naturally the describer than the described. It is nearly impossible to imagine the masterful interviewer chatting unguardedly into a tape recorder, and indeed she prefers not to imagine it. She has agreed to do the interview but only by e-mail: in this way she has politely refused the role of subject and reverted to the more comfortable role of writer. She will be writing her answers--and, to be honest, tinkering gently with the phrasing of some of my questions.

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