Back Novelist Thomas Mallon on why we need Mary McCarthy more than ever


Watch: Thomas Mallon discusses Mary McCarthy’s fiction (1:47)

Is there something about Mary McCarthy that makes her especially relevant in 2017? Reviewing our new two-volume edition of McCarthy’s trailblazing novels and stories for the Barnes & Noble Review, Melissa Pierson argues that “This is a perfect moment . . . for the Library of America’s release of McCarthy’s complete fiction. The two volumes comprise a body of work that retains startling and unsettling relevance.”

A clue to that relevance may come in another review. Writing last month in the Washington Times, Martin Rubin notes that McCarthy “is deeply concerned with accuracy and truth. When I say truth, I don’t just mean getting the details and facts right. . . . I stress even more the deep truth of exploring ideas and ideologies, trends and fashions in belief, behavior and what drives them, among a host of other complex issues.”

Thomas Mallon, editor of the Library of America Mary McCarthy collection, discusses this theme and McCarthy’s special brand of feminism in the above clip from a recent interview here in New York. At a time when “alternative facts” and “fake news” have become ubiquitous, Mary McCarthy’s commitment to intellectual integrity is especially worth revisiting.

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