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An Absorbing Errand uses stories about artists - from William Wordsworth to Michael Jackson, to explore how artists and craftsmen overcome the challenges that interfere with mastering their chosen art form. From the San Francisco Chronicle: Through her willingness in this book to expose her own "anxiety of effort," and in depicting the numberless ways artists must become apprentices over and over, "An Absorbing Errand" proves itself a worthy inspiration for us all.


"Courageous… intimate… Smith is a passionate and uncompromising truth-teller, and it is by telling the truth that she has honored her father and mother as well as her readers."
Jonathan Kirsch, L.A. Times

"Beautiful… a profound portrait of a loving father."
Publishers Weekly

"My Father Is a Book does what the best reminiscences of artists do: It leads us back to the work."
Edith Pearlman, The Boston Globe

"At once loving and lovely, a book worthy of [Malamud]."
Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"This beautifully written book should do much to rekindle interest in Malamud's work."
Heller McAlpin, Newsday

"Deserving… generous-spirited… compelling."
Steve Weinberg, San Francisco Chronicle

"Moving, unostentatiously eloquent... Analytical without being acrimonious, honest without wallowing in self-preening exposure, this is a wise, generous book full of insights..."
Merle Rubin, Christian Science Monitor

"Candid yet sensitive… exquisitely captures ‘the particular psychic pleasure and confusion’ of being the daughter of novelist/short-story writer Bernard Malamud… The author amply demonstrates that she has inherited her father's unblinking moral scrutiny and sympathy for the yearning heart."
Kirkus Reviews