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Somebody with a Little Hammer : Essays
by Mary Gaitskill


Overview - From one of the most singular presences in American fiction comes a searingly intelligent book of essays on matters literary, social, cultural, and personal. Whether she's writing about date rape or political adultery or writers from John Updike to Gillian Flynn, Mary Gaitskill reads her subjects deftly and aphoristically and moves beyond them to locate the deep currents of longing, ambition, perversity, and loneliness in the American unconscious.  Read more...

 
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More About Somebody with a Little Hammer by Mary Gaitskill
 
 
 
Overview
From one of the most singular presences in American fiction comes a searingly intelligent book of essays on matters literary, social, cultural, and personal. Whether she's writing about date rape or political adultery or writers from John Updike to Gillian Flynn, Mary Gaitskill reads her subjects deftly and aphoristically and moves beyond them to locate the deep currents of longing, ambition, perversity, and loneliness in the American unconscious. She shows us the transcendentalism of the Talking Heads, the melancholy of Bjork, the playfulness of artist Laurel Nakadate. She celebrates the clownish grandiosity and the poetry of Norman Mailer's long career and maps the sociosexual cataclysm embodied by porn star Linda Lovelace. And in the deceptively titled "Lost Cat," she explores how the most intimate relationships may be warped by power and race.

Witty, tender, beautiful, and unsettling, Somebody with a Little Hammer displays the same heat-seeking, revelatory understanding for which we value Gaitskill's fiction.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780307378224
  • ISBN-10: 0307378225
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Literary Collections > Essays
Books > Social Science > Popular Culture - General
Books > Psychology > Human Sexuality (see also SOCIAL SCIENCE - Human Sexuality)

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-11-14
  • Reviewer: Staff

This collection of essays spanning two decades has the same fearless curiosity about the human psyche that Gaitskill (The Mare) exhibits in her fiction, along with the same unerring precision of prose. The broad range of her reviews, which cover art and literature from the Book of Revelations to Gone Girl, are united by her demand for complexity, her fascination with enchantment and cruelty (the title for her piece on J.M. Barrie), and her disdain for sentimental complacency. Early reflections tease and knead language into towering baroque shapes, but essays such as The Bridge, on her visit to Saint Petersburg, and the astonishing Lost Cat, on losing her pet, Gattino, settle down to the work of attentive, metaphor-rich descriptions. In later essays, Gaitskills dryness veers toward the acerbic, shearing through the reductive and the bowdlerized. Even those essays which start with the broadest of subjectsmyth, religion, literaturerepeatedly turn inward, drawn by Gaitskills interest in complicated inner landscapes, her favorite theme of the innately mixed, sometimes debased nature of human love, and her unyielding moral empathy for the perversity of the human condition. The surprising, nimble prose alone is a delight, and the pages burst with insight and a candid, unflinching self-assessment sure to thrill Gaitskills existing fans and win her new ones. (Apr.)

 
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