Finalist for the NBCC Award for Criticism
'Nothing about Jenny Diski is conventional. Diski does not do linear, or normal, or boring ... highly intelligent, furiously funny' Sunday Times
'Funny, heartbreaking, insightful and wise' Emilia Clarke
'She expanded notions about what nonfiction, as an art form, could do and could be' New Yorker
Jenny Diski was a fearless writer, for whom no subject was too difficult, even her own cancer diagnosis. Her columns in the London Review of Books – selected here by her editor and friend Mary-Kay Wilmers, on subjects as various as death, motherhood, sexual politics and the joys of solitude – have been described as 'virtuoso performances', and 'small masterpieces'.
From Highgate Cemetery to the interior of a psychiatric hospital, from Tottenham Court Road to the icebergs of Antarctica, Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told? is a collective interrogation of the universal experience from a very particular psyche: original, opinionated – and mordantly funny.
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