Thursday, April 28, 2011
Rec. #114: The Journalist and the Murderer
What: In The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm explores the moral complexities of nonfiction writing. She argues that even when you're telling someone else's story, you're always just telling your own, for your own reasons. Controversy!
Comparable to: Like a behind-the-scenes tour of true crime books such as In Cold Blood (and of less prestigious ones, too).
Representative quote: "Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible." [first sentence]
You might not like it if: It seems like it's a book you should read, and that pretty much turns you off.
How to get it: Widely available for sale, and your library probably has it. Not Kindle-able (yet).
Connection to previous Wreckage: Susan Orlean, author of Saturday Night (Rec. #15), was one of the writers who agreed with Malcolm's basic premise, admitting that ethical struggles are a necessary evil in journalism.