I understand why Melville House has put The Journal I Did Not Keeptogether. Her publisher rightly believes that Segal, who is 91 and still writes for five hours a day, should be vastly better known. In the US, where her first novel, Other People’s Houses (1964), was serialised in the New Yorker, and Shakespeare’s Kitchen (2007) was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize, she tends still to be thought of as a writer’s writer; in the UK, she is hardly read at all. But I’m not convinced that the way to bring her to new readers is by gathering together these extracts from her novels, some new and old stories, some scraps of memoir and a few essays. Whether by accident or design, the result is oddly repetitive, particularly in the sections of the book devoted to nonfiction.