Diane Arbus
Book Review: Adam Phillips' "On Balance"
Book Review: Adam Phillips' "On Balance"

On Balance Adam Phillips Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 314 pp., $26 What is it, exactly, that makes reading Adam Phillips such a refreshing, rewarding and invigorating experience? A psychoanalyst who splits his time between his private practice and his writing, Phillips is well known in the United Kingdom for his thoughtful, frequently meandering essays on diverse and often unexpected topics; and it is perhaps precisely the difficulty of these challenging and puzzling essays that explains their charm. In an age whose "literature" frequently comprises predigested simulacra of actual thought, a writer who resists immediate understanding rather than catering to his audience's...