Author: Janet Malcolm
Publisher: Melbourne University Publish
View: 835Two Lives is Janet Malcolm's stunning portrait of a legendary couple: Gertrude Stein, the modernist master, and Alice B Toklas, the 'worker bee' who ministered to Stein's needs throughout their forty-year expatriate 'marriage'. As Malcolm pursues the truth of the couple's charmed life in a village in Vichy France her subject becomes the larger question of biographical truth. 'The instability of human knowledge is one of our few certainties,' she writes. The portrait of their relationship that emerges is unexpectedly charged. The two world wars Stein and Toklas lived through together are paralleled by the private war that went on between them. This war, as Malcolm learned, sometimes flared into bitter combat. Janet Malcolm is at her finest in this extraordinary work of literary biography and investigative journalism.