The new Bookforum is now online, and the offerings include my review of John Haskell's Out Of My Skin. Here's how it starts:
Recently on NPR, Philip Seymour Hoffman gave an interview that was surprising in its awkward, fumbling banality. For example, on the difference between theater and film actors, he offered, “I’m sitting here and [theater actors are] doing it in front of me, but the only difference is that they’re doing it and I’m watching, but ultimately we’re all people hanging out in the same building.” Yet the taut intelligence of Hoffman’s performances can scarcely be gainsaid; like the work of many post-Strasberg stars, his oeuvre is a testament to an instinctive, emotional intelligence, which is not, perhaps, so easily put into words. In his earnest new novel, Out of My Skin, John Haskell—who explored his fascination with celebrity in his debut story collection, I Am Not Jackson Pollock (2003)—delves into questions of reinvention and performance. He aims to examine the fundamental question of what it means to change, but his exegesis is marred by a propensity for mundane, ersatz profundity. Even so, one is forced to wonder whether, as in the case of Hoffman, this self-conscious tic is all part of the act.
You can read the review in its entirety here.