A collection of the indomitable Jenny Diski’s essays, “one of the great anomalies of contemporary literature” (The NYT Magazine), selected by London Review of Books editor Mary-Kay Wilmers.
“[Diski] expanded notions about what nonfiction, as an art form, could do and could be.” —The 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 a psychiatric hospital to the icebergs of Antarctica, from Roald Dahl to arachnophobia, 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.