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1. Bad Behavior: Stories
2. Because They Wanted to: Stories
3. Veronica
4. Don't Cry: Stories
5. Bad Behavior
6. Two Girls Fat and Thin
7. Flight Patterns: A Century of
8. Don't Cry (Vintage Contemporaries)
9. Because They Want To
10. Veronica (Spanish Edition)
11. Glimmer Train Stories, #64
12. An Autobiography of the San Francisco
13. Best New American Voices 2009
14. Da Capo Best Music Writing 2006:
15. The Best American Erotica, 2005
16. Biography - Gaitskill, Mary (1954-):
17. New Yorker June 9 2008 Summer
18. Open City #7: The Rubbed Away
19. Open City Number Five : Change
20. Don't Cry

1. Bad Behavior: Stories
by Mary Gaitskill
Paperback: 224 Pages (2009-07-21)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$3.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439148872
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Now a classic, Bad Behavior made critical waves when it was first published, heralding Mary Gaitskill's arrival on the literary scene and her establishment as one of the sharpest, erotically charged, and audaciously funny writing talents of contemporary literature.

Set in Manhattan's Lower East Side and peopled with working-class drug addicts, intelligent hookers, stable housewives, smug yuppies, and sensually deprived professionals, Bad Behavior depicts a cruel and tender world where romance and modern perversity go hand in hand. Gaitskill delivers powerful stories of dislocation, longing, and desire that depict a disenchanted and rebellious urban fringe generation groping for human connection. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars outside of the sexual prototyped box
You would think since the movie secretary was based onaselection from this book that it would have more readers.Secretary was tantalizing. I enjoy this book. I think its the basis of a lot of people's second lives. A lot of us out there lead two lives- one that our families see, one that our friends see. And we are often two completely different people. We can often hide our activites or chose to engulf our minds in just one of the two edgy lives. I'd like to think thats what was going on in some of the stories.

2-0 out of 5 stars Brought to you by http://kaydencebookblog.wordpress.com/
After reading a short story by Mary Gaitskill in school, I decided to give a novel a try.I was disappointed, sorta.It was exactly like what I read for school, which I enjoyed, however, every story was exactly like that.Here is the rundown:

Daisy's Valentine: This story is about a guy named Joey who works in a used book store typing up the inventory of books.His co-worker, Daisy, is the object of his affection.However, both Joey and Daisy are both in relationships.Joey is a drug addict that only eats Jelly beans, and Daisy consistently flits from guy to guy because she needs the drama.The relationship between the two of them is not fulfilling and leaves them both confused.

A Romantic Weekend: This is about a woman that falls in love with a man that she thinks will be the person of her dreams.He is married and they are planning on spending the weekend together.She has this notion of being his sex slave because she once enjoyed being beaten during sex when she was in college.He can't wait to beat her and torture her.However, as they meet, they decide they can't really stand each other.The weekend is terrible and neither party gets what they want or expected from the other.

Something Nice:A man goes to a whore house and picks out his prostitute.They lay down and talk for most of the allotted time.He finds that he is strangely attracted to her and continues to go back to visit her every night that his wife is away.He then plans to meet her outside of work, but she stands him up.

An Affair, Edited:A man sees an old girlfriend on the street and begins to remember the relationship that he had with her.He remembers that they didn't love each other and he beat her during sex.

Connection: A woman, Susan, goes home to New York for a visit.While she is walking, she thinks that she sees her old friend Leisha on the street.This sighting triggers the memories of her relationship with her friend.She replays how they met and became friends, the dramas that went through the friendship, and then the final fight that drove them apart.

Trying to Be:A woman becomes a prostitute while she is not getting enough money from her read job.She has a client that seems to fall for her.He comes to her a lot and offers her money.She begins to see him outside of work.He gives her money there also, which she feels a little guilty for.As their affair continues, they learn more about each other.She doesn't like his views on love, passion, and marriage, and their relationship falls flat.The affair ends, but neither is sad about the separation.

Secretary:If you have ever seen the movie Secretary, then you know the plot of this story.A girl gets a job.She begins making mistakes and her boss spanks her.Unlike the movie, it is unclear if she enjoys the spankings or not.She stops going to work and her boss gives her a lot of money, probably to keep her for saying anything about it as he seeks to further his career in the political area.

Other Factors: Connie runs into a man who tried to seduce her.They have a brief conversation and it brings up memories (see a pattern here?).The man invites her to a party at his house in which two of their old friends would be at.This distresses her and she goes home to her lover upset.She recalls the relationship that she had with the set of friends and how much she tried to impress them.Even after all of this time, she still feels like she needs to be good enough for them.After much deliberation, she goes to the party.It is anticlimactic and neither Connie or the friends seem to care about each other.

Heaven: This is a story about a family.The original sisters are all married, but unhappy.One of them can not control their daughter, so she is sent to live with the other sister.The girl is not happy there either and rebels and runs away.No one chases her.The other children have similar issues.The wild child female that everyone loves gets married to a man that beats her and ends up going back home.The other daughter marries a man and becomes successful, but is unhappy and divorces him.One son went to school, but dropped out and the other son is killed in an automobile accident.

Ok, so that was a basic summary of each story.I felt like she was so repetitive.It seemed like every story had a lot of drug use with no point at all.She also had a lot of the running into someone from the past and then thinking about how terrible life is.Finally, all of the women don't seem to enjoy sex unless they are being beaten during it.I know that she is known for the realistic portrayal of the bad side of life, but honestly, I don't know that many women that only enjoy sex while being hurt.I'm just not impressed by this novel.I think that it would be better to read one or two stories like this, but every single one was the same thing over and over.Why bother putting yourself reading the whole book?Why not just search her up through google and read a story or two?Then you will get the Gaitskill experience without feeling bored by the second or third story.

2/5 stars ... Read more

2. Because They Wanted to: Stories
by Mary Gaitskill
Paperback: 256 Pages (1998-02-27)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$0.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684841444
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In stories set on airplanes, in restaurants, at parties, and in assorted bedrooms, the bestselling author of "Bad Behavior" entices readers to "listen in" on characters whom they may not want to know--but whose secrets are irresistibly intriguing. QPBC Alternate National print publicity & ads. .Amazon.com Review
Reading a Mary Gaitskill short story is like getting into ano-holds-barred fight: mean, raw, and dangerous. She's fond ofportraying characters who seem strangely comfortable living inemotional extremity. She never takes the safe route through a story;in fact, she'll choose the low road every time. The title story placesa runaway girl in care of abandoned children. Where many writers wouldseek out some faint ray of redemption or hope, Gaitskill concentrateson the grime in the cracks of the linoleum. In "The Girl on thePlane," a bitter man confesses his participation in a brutal actto a stranger, but the confession brings no solace. These storiespractically shake with tension. In the final long story of thiscollection, "The Wrong Thing," Gaitskill picks up the taleafter the breaking point, as she gracefully illuminates the life of awoman piecing together the fragments of her sexual and emotionalhistory. Because They Wanted not only fulfills the promise ofher previous short-story collection Bad Behavior and the novelTwo Girls, Fat and Thin, it takes us to a higher place. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars Darkly Hilarious
Hey, all you Mary hatahs in the one star club -- didn't you get that half the time the author was poking fun at her characters, maybe the self that inspired them, and the simplistic solutions of nineties therapy culture?

The Dentist is a good example, wherein a thirty-something intellectual writer and former sex-worker develops an outsized, almost childish crush on the kind, bland dentist who first inflicts pain, then tries to makes it right.She doesn't know how to accept his simple good will -- in lending her a computer when hers busts on deadline, in meeting her for nonphysical dates, and insisting he needs to know a person better before getting physically involved.

Ex-junkie friends living on public assistance offer expert advice: He won't ___ you? 's He's sick! He's ___ing with your head!

Honestly -- if you've ever had a girlfriend who just doesn't get that he's not into her -- it's the same story, and it's funny that M.G.'s characters, with their dense sexual histories, are really just like everyone else when it comes to unrequited love.

The title story about a teenage runaway is poignant and not completely without redemption. It's realistic, it doesn't end on a dark note at all, but with some sense of progress and connection.

The last group of stories, The Wrong Thing seems to represent a coming of maturity and moving on -- as if the dizzy characters of Bad Behavior are finally finding ways to work out their kinks (!) and find some peace in the world.

The Girl on the Plane -- told from the point of view of a man who took part in the gang bang of an alcoholic friend -- isn't funny -- but it's very real, and breathtaking.

4-0 out of 5 stars Similar types of characters, but brilliant writing
Gaitskill's characters were a little one note, despondent, often sexually twisted people. But her writing is absolutely brilliant, you can't wait to get to the end of the story, and every person and every scene is extremely visceral and vivid. Highly recommended....but only if you can stomach some dark stuff.

It's been years since I read this book. I was invited to the Hamptons for a lovely fall weekend, and I packed up Gaitskill to be my fellow guest. It was a date made in hell I shall never forget. I can't remember detesting a book this much with the possibility of those best-sellingJames Patterson pseudo-mysteries. Mary's stories seem like exercises a depressed college student might try out in an evening writing course led by a slightly soused, unpublishable author. Many times the same story is retold with different characters but to no great effect but tedium.

As an anal collector of books, I have 15 bookcases in a small apartment, I discarded this one with ease after actually thinking of burning it in the nearby fireplace, but I was afraid of smoke damage. (Do books burn like logs?)

These memories came back after reading a mostly glowing review of Gaitskill's latest in today's The New York Times. One gets the sense, though, that the reviewer, author Kathryn Harrison, really detests the short story collection but doesn't want to anger the literati. The plots of the stories she recounts (a woman comes home from the hospital with a breast made from her stomach with tubes leaking pus) and the pretentious passages quoted make one want to run away from Gaitskill forever. Believe me (prose-wise), she ain't dating material.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great writing
Good stuff. She has a perspective on "alternative" lifestyles that is honest and not just shock value. All of the taboo activities her characters participate in are part of her exploration through human drive and desire.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kraft-Ebbing meets Miss Lonelyhearts
I'd still recommend starting with "Bad Behavior" if you haven't read any Gaitskill before. She gets more ambitious and profound as she gets older and the reading is not as easy. In this short story collection the character descriptions are clever but sometimes bewildering, such as"a thin excitable woman who appeared to be keeping a strictinner watch over an invisible set of perfectly balanced inner objects, lest any of them fall over or even fractionallyshift position."
The first nine stories are about screenwriters, philosophers, hookers, musicians, dentists, social workers, vagrants etc in California, Seattle, Vancouver, Iowa and Greenwich Village.Plots are (very roughly) as follows:
Lesbian tells all about homophobic father.
Runaway babysitter gets stiffed.
Psychopharmacologist neglects sick sister for bisexual social worker.
Rape fantasy spoils relationship.
Girl friend doesn't send a get well card.
Rapist confesses (perhaps to victim).
Helpful dentist is too shy.
Screenwriter tells all about actress ex.
The last four stories are interrelated, about a group of San Franciscans whose love lives areexemplified by " Ellie called, very excited, to tell me about her cutting experience with the dominatrix" which is vintage Gaitskill stuff. Enjoy.

... Read more

3. Veronica
by Mary Gaitskill
Paperback: 257 Pages (2006-07-18)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037572785X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Alison and Veronica meet amid the nocturnal glamour of 1980s New York: One is a young model stumbling away from the wreck of her career, the other an eccentric middle-aged office temp. Over the next twenty years their friendship will encompass narcissism and tenderness, exploitation and self-sacrifice, love and mortality. Moving seamlessly from present and past, casting a fierce yet compassionate eye on two eras and their fixations, the result is a work of timeless depth and moral power. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (70)

5-0 out of 5 stars incredible
I don't know how a writer can keep writing after reading Veronica. It's like staring at the sun.

4-0 out of 5 stars Undeniably brilliant and repulsive
For readers worried that marital tranquility and maturity might have robbed Gaitskill of her fangs, fear not. She sinks them in deep with Veronica, a novel about the ugliest aspects of beauty.

Alison is an ex-model figuring out how to live with the fact that she's no longer young and beautiful. Now in her fifties, Alison is cleaning offices and suffering through the ravages of Hep C. It is dying disguised as living. She has a truly miserable, lonely, pointless life that she's trying to endure with a little dignity. She finds it through remembering an unlikely friendship with Veronica, a woman she knew in the eighties when Alison was trying to re-enter the world of modeling in New York.

The most interesting parts of the book have nothing to do with Veronica. They are told as Alison sustains herself through memory. Her reveries of her early years in the brutal world of an underage model in Europe--the sex, drugs, glamor, and overpowering humiliation at the hands of powerful men--are classic Gaitskill, all the beauty offset by a fundamental preoccupation with bodily functions and disease. It's repulsive and grotesque and doomed. It also ruins Alison for anything else.

As she tries to re-enter regular life, Alison quite movingly describes how her past shines over her head like an invisible world inhabited by gods. It's a world she can no longer enter due to shifting tastes, the possible retaliation of her ex-lover, and the inevitability of aging out of marketability. Against these longings, she interacts with her friend Veronica, who commits a trifecta of unforgivable sins. Veronica is middle-aged, not chic and completely unapologetic about this. Veronica doesn't count at all in the world Alison inhabits, and the worst part is that Veronica really doesn't seem to care. Somehow Alison continues a friendship with her, perhaps as a proof of her own worth--to say that she isn't completely face-deep, that she does have some values and some compassion. But she doesn't. The book is an examination of a shallow soul, a soul that will never be satisfied because the only things it values (youth, beauty, glamor) are inherently ephemeral.

This is the central paradox of the book, and the most interesting (and yet underexplored); the gulf between Alison and the rest of the mundane world that is satisfied with such trivialities as education, helping others, having babies, careers, I don't know, any and all of the ways that regular folks filled their lives in the seventies and eighties once they realized they were never going to get to the other side of the velvet rope at Studio 54. Alison feels cast out of Olympus and back into the world of the mortal, and never, ever seems to find any value in it. She quietly despises anyone who does. Veronica's only meaningful role is to serve as an example of how to die alone, ugly and middle-aged.

Did I admire this book? Certainly I admired the writing, the unbelievably skillful entwining of the past and the present, at times in one long paragraph that is so carefully interwoven, sentence-by-sentence, that my breath was taken away b the sheer writerly skill of it. I had trouble figuring out who most of the secondary characters were when they were mentioned in Alison's reveries, possibly because they weren't cared enough about to have been meaningfully engraved in the reader's memory. I got tired of one swear word in particular, because it was so overused. But Gaitskill is a passionate and poetic writer, and even though Alison is not deep, her struggles are presented in charged, beautiful language. At times I was moved, but in the end, I am not seduced by Gaitskill's vision of humankind.

This is someone's reality, but it is not my reality. I have to admit that this relieves me intensely.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring, pretentious pile of doo-doo!
Yuck! I read 30 pages and gave up! This book is terrible! Enough said.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sometimes great, sometimes frustrating. 3.5 stars
I by no means disliked this book, but it certainly had her faults. The language was beautiful throughout the novel, no doubt about it, but the story really lost focus at times. That's not to say I think a story has to be driven by plot, the problem was at times it seemed she didn't know what was driving it. I found the best parts to be the ones that took place in the present, with Alison reflecting on the past, and also the parts with other models, and even the graphic sexual parts. The parts with Veronica were actually my least favorite parts, I couldn't say exactly why. This is certainly a novel to read if you love elegant prose, that reads almost like poetry, and also if you like novels that center around female psychology.
This isn't as good as her short stories, but it's still good and worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poetry is the vehicle -- not plot, not character
This fine work is fiction brutally, cleverly morphed from poetry. Genre work, perhaps, but what a genre it is, laced with blunt psychological insight and studious avoidance of the veridical. Readers who take pleasure in marking standalone paragraphs for the sheer harmony of them, who are able to contribute an original melody line to this evolved art of partially told stories, will not mind the zig-zag trajectory "Veronica" takes. Alison's narrative voice drips with both casual indifference and implausible wisdom. Her luminous and her unburnished observations are set stubbornly side by side. Such juxtapositions in "Veronica" deliver an alarmingly accurate punch. ... Read more

4. Don't Cry: Stories
by Mary Gaitskill
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2009-03-24)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375424199
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Following the extraordinary success of her novel Veronica, Mary Gaitskill returns with a luminous new collection of stories--her first in more than ten years.

In “College Town l980,” young people adrift in Ann Arbor debate the meaning of personal strength at the start of the Reagan era; in the urban fairy tale “Mirrorball,” a young man steals a girl’s soul during a one-night stand; in “The Little Boy,” a woman haunted by the death of her former husband is finally able to grieve through a mysterious encounter with a needy child; and in “The Arms and Legs of the Lake,” the fallout of the Iraq war becomes disturbingly real for the disparate passengers on a train going up the Hudson--three veterans, a liberal editor, a soldier’s uncle, and honeymooners on their way to Niagara Falls.

Each story delivers the powerful, original language, and the dramatic engagement of the intelligent mind with the craving body--or of the intelligent body with the craving mind--that is characteristic of Gaitskill’s fiction.As intense as Bad Behavior, her first collection of stories, Don’t Cry reflects the profound enrichment of life experience. As the stories unfold against the backdrop of American life over the last thirty years, they describe how our social conscience has evolved while basic human truths--“the crude cinder blocks of male and female down in the basement, holding up the house,” as one character puts it--remain unchanged.Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, March 2009: Mary Gaitskill has a reputation as the chronicler of bad relationships, but that label doesn't do justice to the stories she tells. Her relationships turn bad, or turn good, or just turn (and turn and turn). In every exploitation there's an attraction, or at least an accommodation; in every hostility there's a yearning for, or at least a memory of, connection. You see the intensity of people--friends and family as well as lovers--drawn together, and the often equally intense emptiness when the magnet flips and repels. Gaitskill is one of our best short story writers (that's a label that's fully just) and the prickly, sad brilliance of her last book, Veronica, confirmed her as a master of the novel, too. Don't Cry is just her third story collection in 20 years, after the modern classics Bad Behavior and Because They Wanted To, and it reminds you immediately of why you've been longing to read her again. Once more, there are former lovers and ex-friends and parents and children who have not quite made a hash of things, but there's also a broadening in this collection, especially in the title story, which looks at the ties of family and friendship when they are stretched across the global distance of privilege and poverty. --Tom Nissley

... Read more

Customer Reviews (45)

3-0 out of 5 stars Review: "Don't Cry" a short story collection by Mary Gaitskill.
In one of the stories leading to the series Sandman: Season of the Mists, Neil Gaiman references an African village culture in which the women speak a different language among themselves than the men do and that no wise man learns it. Mary Gaitskill's story collection, Don't Cry, bears him out perfectly.

It is difficult for me to say that I can do Gaitskill justice in a review of these stories because I have to admit that couldn't finish reading them no matter how hard I tried--and I did try. The problem with them is not that they are bad stories nor that Gaitskill is a bad writer (nothing could be further from the truth in either case) but that for a man reading Gaitskill again, long after having read the stories in the Bad Behavior collection, reading the stories in "Don't Cry" creates a leaden sense of deja vu.

Mary Gaitskill's lifetime theme is women damaged by participation in a male-dominated, consumer culture and if that is what you expect and need, the majority of stories in "Don't Cry" will not disappoint you.

In "Don't Cry," the women are more than damaged, they are chewed by dragons. They pull their hair out; they go through the motions in lives leached of purpose and seethe in silent rage as their friends turn to gossip and they can only watch through a haze of antidepressants at relationships they can never have.

Gaitskill gives the reader women whose lives read like wandering a dreamscape. Sometimes Gaitskill's women are like unsellable products and to read about them is to witness nightmares rolled out of pain and self-loathing. Take this passage from the beginning of the opening story of the collection, "College Town, 1980":

"...Thus it was not a good idea to pull her hair back with a scarf.

Dolores knew this. She hated wearing the scarf, but she'd recently pulled huge chunks of her hair out and her head looked so weird that a scarf was necessary. It was the second episode if its kind in her life, and yet, now as then, she couldn't remember why it had ever been satisfying to pull her hair out, or even how it had felt, although you'd think it would have hurt. As if to remind herself, she'd actually kept the hair in a little box, until the sight of it sickened her one day..."

The problem with things like this, with stories built around self-loathing and helplessness on the part of women or anyone else, is that if you've read one of them, you've read all of them and not even Gaitskill's intricate understanding of styles can make the substance of her stories or the structure of them more compelling.

At the end of the day, reading many of the stories in "Don't Cry" collection leaves you wishing you could meet Ms Gaitskill and say, "Fine, message sent, lesson learned--what else have you got?" and this is a shame because Mary Gaitskill is not a good writer, but a great one; capable of all the elegant spareness that made Hemingway famous and making it work.

She is a writer whose talent, ability and skills are things that should make any writer who aspires to art envious of her. Unfortunately, Gaitskill's status as a great writer only serves to remind you that there are or have been other great writers capable of beauty and technique--Marguerite Duras and Margaret Atwood come to mind--who can write about women in ways that make you understand all that Gaitskill has to say together with worlds of other things.

To make the point bluntly, reading "Don't Cry" makes you wish that Ms Gaitskill would write something else.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sextra Special! Read All About It!
Mary Gaitskill's literary landscape starts and ends with sex, although it meanders through other complex human relations along the way. Thirty-one of her short stories, written at about the rate of one a year over the last three or so decades, make up the collections in "Bad Behavior" (1988), "Because They Wanted To" (1997) and, most recently, "Don't Cry"(2009). The release of the paperback edition of "Don't Cry"in Marchis the occasion for this review.

Sex is complicated stuff. No one knows that better than Gaitskill nor writes about it with more acumen. To summarize her view, sex between a man and a woman is never consensual; its wellsprings are too deeply imbedded in our makeup to permit the knowledge required for assent. As one of her characters puts it, "Sex has been let out of the box, like everything is okay, but no one knows what `everything' is." Still, as her stories make clear, Gaitskill comes as close to getting it as any one can.

In "The Agonized Face" the fourth story in "Don't Cry", Gaitskill cuts to the quick. The narrator, reflecting on an interview she did with a topless dancer who abhorred, and in the next breath, accepted as normal a customer's unwanted buggering, sizes up the dancer's about face this way: "The combination was pathetic, and yet it had the dignity of awful truth. . ..because in the telling of it a certain foundation of humanity was revealed; the crude cinder blocks of male and female down in the basement, holding up the house. . . .We are glad to have the topless dancer to remind us of that dark area in the basement where personality is irrelevant and crude truth prevails. Her philosophical patter [she was big on Hegel and Nietzsche]even added to the power of her story because it created a stark polarity: intelligent words on one side, and mute genitals on the other."

In"Mirror Ball," Gaitskill explores the consequences to a young girl who emotionally over invested in a one-night stand. Traumatized by her rejection - he didn't call the next day or any other day - she manages, but just barely, to recover her soul from the clutches of that experience.

"Description" and "Don't Cry" deal with another one night stand, this one between and older woman teacher and a graduate male student. "Description" describes the encounter from his point of view, "Don't Cry," from hers in the course of her account of accompanying a friend to Addis Ababa who hopes to arrange an off-the-books adoption of an Ethiopian child. The juxtaposition of the two accounts works well. In "The Arms and Legs of the Lake" Gaitskilldeals with the post traumatic stress disorder that the Iraq war has inflicted on all of us.

Gaitskill's story collections have all been reviewed in The New York Times Book Review. Of the three, "Carnal Knowledge," Craig Seligman's review(February 9, 1997) of "Because They Wanted To" is the most comprehensive. Here's an excerpt from his discussion of "The Dentist," one of the stories in "Because They Wanted To:"Jill, the protagonist, responding to the observation that it would be "`awful' if the mainstream population abandoned its sexual conservatism" responds"`That won't ever happen. . . . Sex . . . means too many things to people.It connects the dirt within, and there's just too much dirt." Seligman goes on to say," `Thedirt within' is what [Gaitskill is] after, because she recognizes it as the secret of personality - the core of our humanity."

Here are the references to the other New York Times reviews:"Bad Behavior" was reviewed by George Garrett on August 21, 1988 under the title, "Fun and Games for Sadomasochists." "Don't Cry" was reviewed by Kathryn Harrison on March 22, 2009, under the title, "Pitiless Eye." There are many articles about Ms.Gaitskill available on Google.


4-0 out of 5 stars Raw and brutal
Mary Gaitskill presents in this collection of short stories, narratives that are raw, honest and non-apologetic about the honesty it displays. The skill with which she weaves in and out of the narratives is spellbinding. Her characters' words and actions are unpopular, often wrong and vulgar, but they are honest and real.

The characters were often unlikable and very flawed. But, their portrayals were exquisite and captiivating.

4-0 out of 5 stars Edgy and Honest
Though sometimes the words make the reader wince, these short stories are edgy, honest and sometimes a bit difficult to read as they explore harsh emotions and realistic people all tangled up in life's many webs. The title fits this collection, since one often has to remind themselves not to cry for the mix of humanity within the pages, but for those who are not faint of heart and like the dramatic, 'Don't Cry' stories is a perfect read. The characters certainly linger with the reader for a long time and make an impression.

3-0 out of 5 stars Difficult to Read
I do not just mean that this was hard to swallow in realness (although that certainly was the case), but also difficult to keep focus. Friends often comment how I can simply sit and devour a book from cover to cover in one sitting--not in this instance. I found my mind wandering more often than focusing and wound up reading several paragraphs more than once. Gaitskill is incredibly talented, no doubt about it. I can't seem to place my finger on why I became so distracted reading these stories. Maybe because the characters were simply not ones I could relate to. In any case, this is not a light read, and I do not recommend to anyone going through a dark period. ... Read more

5. Bad Behavior
by Mary Gaitskill
Paperback: 208 Pages (1989-05-14)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$4.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723277
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Powerful stories of dislocation, longing and desire which depict a disenchanted and rebellious urban fringe generation that is groping for human connection. (Or, more simply put, the angst of people-who-wear-black.) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars If You Enjoy Genuine Stories
What a gifted writer!Dark stories, but I don't have any problem with that.I think Mary Gaitskill gets to the essense of a situation.Her stories sound truthful.It wasn't what I thought it would be but I was led here by the movie.Because I found the movie so interesting, I was disappointed with the story that it was based on. It was most of the other stories that held and kept my attention.The complexity of the relationships between her characters...so rich!I will read more of her books.

3-0 out of 5 stars Short Stories With Characters Who Do Nothing but Act Trendy
This book is a collection of short stories about bizarre people in misbegotten relationships.The stories take place on the lower East Side of Manhattan.The characters are Soho types who would be right at home in a Tama Janowitz book such as Slaves of New York.

An example of the writing follows.It is from the short story, 'Daisy Valentine'.

"He'd met Diane at Bennington.He'd been impressed by her reputation in the art department, by the quality of the LSD she sold and her rudeness.She was a tall, handsome, thirty-three-year-old woman with taut, knit-together shoulders and was so tense that her muscles were held scrunched together all the time.As a result, she was very muscular, even tough she didn't do anything but lie around the loft and take drugs." (p. 10-11)

None of the characters do anything.They are trendy, artsy-fartsy types who lack any firm sense of ethics, have no center, and float from one lousy situation to another in a perpetual ennui.

The book is well-written and somewhat interesting but the subtle depravity calls for an emetic.The characters are spiritually anorexic and sexually bulimic.

1-0 out of 5 stars normal people?no!
Enough with the intellectual high minded reviews. These are short stories about loosers.This book is about the seamier, scummier parts of low life living. Stories about people who enjoy the misery in their lives, who have lousy jobs and refuse to aspire to better themselves, people who cheat and lie and admire themselves for it.Not only that; most of them are physically unattractive to add to the misery. There is nothing pretty or nice in any part of these stories; rooms are dirty and messy, the streets are miserable.why oh why would anyone want to read this?I read 3 stories hoping for some light; none; tried another; I suggest; don't bother.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not what I was hoping
I was thinking I was going to be reading an edgy, provocative story.It wasn't.She is a good writer, but the book is a little too internal for me.It wasn't enough grit in my opinion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Caustic stories about the emotionally dark side of sex.
Few authors are able to probe the psyche of troubled women with more sure-handed skill than Mary Gaitskill.The nine stories in "Bad Behavior" bring the disturbing and psychologically true insights of its characters to life in a brilliantly blunt and matter-of-fact way.

Its best story is "Something Nice," an astoundingly incisive tale of a man who falls for the young prostitute he visits."Secretary," like most of the stories here, works as a kind of prelude to her puissant follow-up novel, "Two Girls, Fat and Thin."Though this story does it in a completely atypical and even more unsettling way. The final story, "Heaven," a dark character piece, is an excellent change of pace from the preceding psychosexual drama.

This was Gaitskill's first published book and she definitely grew as a writer later on.The writing is occasionally simplistically arranged and at other times composed of vaguely strung-together behavioral key words that come off as a bit empty.The stories also get a tad redundant and are obviously autobiographical (Gaitskill was apparently a call girl at one time in her life).

But whatever she lacks in style, she more than makes up for in insight.Gaitskill's ability to expose the twisted, misfiring, black inner workings of her off-center characters is thrilling.

Many writers craft tales of disturbing behavior, but Gaitskill is one of the few who accurately and perceptively show you why they do it and how the characters got there. ... Read more

6. Two Girls Fat and Thin
by Mary Gaitskill
Paperback: 320 Pages (1998-02-27)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$0.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684843129
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reissued to coincide with the paperback publication of "Because They Wanted To", this captivating novel shimmers with dark intensity and wicked wit. In a stunning synthesis of eroticism, rage, pathos, and humor, Gaitskill's "fine storyteller's pace and brilliant metaphors" ("The New York Times Book Review") create a haunting and unforgettable journey into the dark side of contemporary life and the deepest recesses of the soul National print ads & publicity. . ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, powerful, and Real
This is, quite possibly, the most intense book I have ever read.The characters are perfect examples of imperfect woman.I couldn't put this book down.Justine and Dorothy are two completely different woman, yet you feel yourself totally understanding both of them.The story unfolds beautifully.It is a strangely moving, strangely erotic, strangely sad book.I loved it.I would reccommend it, highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anna Granite?
This moved me to tears. So depressing! That poor dog in the cartoon- hopefully it wasn't really aired! And "Anna Granite" (you will know soon enough who she was based on) and her compadres- that was funny, actually. :0)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sharply and brilliantly insightful.
Reading Mary Gaitskill is like reading Kathryn Harrison's prolix sister.

This book tells the tale of two damaged women who coincidentally meet and after doing so reexamine their pasts, which include sexual trauma and unstable family situations.

Though Gaitskill's prose occasionally reads like a psychology textbook, she thrills the reader with sparkling, profound insight into the cruel hothouse of sexuality and confusion her characters grow up in.One girl, the overweight one, is friendless and lonely; the other, the thin one, is pretty, popular, and indulges in a mean streak, though certain early encounters in her life have mixed up the wiring in her brain and made her a masochist.

I didn't think the book was quite as interesting when dealing with the characters as adults (in particular the overweight woman, Dorothy), and the ending left a little something to be desired, but Gaitskill is unrivaled in her ability to put you right into the minds of her wounded characters, and lay bare the world they live in (internally and externally).

Despite getting a little soft in the end, I thought this was a brilliant book at showing the trace-line from what happens to us as children and how our confused, uncomprehending, inchoate, not-yet-mature-enough-to-understand thoughts and reasoning colors who we are and what we do for the rest of our lives.

4-0 out of 5 stars Our fragile humanity

I was a little wary about the title but this was not at all about weight gain and/or loss; weight was incidental. In this fiercely intelligent novel, Dorothy and Justine are both desperately lonely women, both victims of abuse, and yet are different in other ways. Their parents often failed them, their childhood was often full of shame and self-sabotage, but Gaitskill writes this with complexity, always aware that a victim can also be a victimizer. Gaitskill is never sentimental. Underneath her narrative, underneath the pain and the sex scenes (which are never fully loving) and the disappointments and loneliness, is a raging anger at the inability of human beings to connect - on race, on class, but mostly on gender. I sensed that Anna Granite, the intellectual whose shadow dominates this narrative, and who is the reason Dorothy and Justine first meet, is Gaitskill's platform for displaying her keen intellect; and sometimes there is a hint of didactism. But this is a minor quibble. The last section moved me very much and proved that although Gaitskill abhors sentimentality, she can certainly do sentiment well. `Humanity' is a word often found in this book. Our sexuality is connected to our humanity. Our ability to treat other human beings like human beings is what makes us human. In the end, Gaitskill's brilliant, wonderfully feminist novel was, for me, about how easily we strip each other of our humanity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, fascinating book
The book begins with the narrator noticing a message on a laundromat bulletin board, instantly drawing my interest.My interest never flags, with the author's symbolic visual and intellectualized descriptions of her environment and things that happen to her.The books feels like I was watching a movie in 3D.

The two main characters are both young women. Dorothy Never is overweight and masochistic while Justine Shade is a thin, masochistic and sadistic free lance journalist.Dorothy meets her through the bulletin board ad she sees on the "Definitist" philosophy.This author-created philosophy permits the main character (Dorothy) to work out neuroses formed by childhood traumas such as peer teasing and especially incest, and move forward in her life.

I found the names of characters, places and philosophy to be both creative and entertaining, as were the Hopper-esque visuals of New York City which added magical touches to the novel, making it all the more seductive.The references to the weight of the two women -- one fat, the other thin -- symbolized in an interesting way the always present theme of emotional deprivation.

Many things happen in this book that detail the intellectual and mostly emotional journal of two shattered personalities. ... Read more

7. Flight Patterns: A Century of Stories about Flying
by James Salter, Mary Gaitskill, David Sedaris, Roald Dahl, Walter Kirn, Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro
Paperback: 550 Pages (2009-06-16)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$0.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 189044751X
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Over the last century air travel has evolved from a high-risk experiment involving a few visionary pioneers to an efficient—and often irritating—means for distributing masses of people to the far reaches of the globe. During the hundred-year history of human air travel, it has yielded writing that is, by turns, heroic, dreamy, subversive, and utterly dire. This anthology traces this trajectory from the early letters and memoirs of Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, to the diaries of Amelia Earhart. Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s heroism gives way to the darkly magical storytelling of Roald Dahl, and the spare, elegiac prose of master stylist James Salter. More recent stories by Erica Jong, Mary Gaitskill, Thomas Beller, Mike Albo, Maxine Swann, and David Sedaris examine an array of contemporary subjects, from the addictiveness of mile-high sex, to etiquette for cramped seating and accounts of racial profiling post–9/11. Flight Patterns promises an entertaining refuge for frequent fliers, and a gateway to dreams for nighttime readers. These writings exude the primal fear and cool perspective that can only come from seeing the world—and one’s own life—from a great distance. Flight Patterns renders airplane travel a time capsule of modern life.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars Depends on your tastes, but honestly kind of dry.Almost too broad in scope.
This books covers airplanes from a wide variety of angles...inventing, making, flying, working on, etc.Most of the stories seem to consist of creative non-fiction, though there are plenty of fiction stories as well.Some are by the actual flight legends, others are about them.Some are about the passenger experience, others merely take place on planes...or around them.Some never get in the air at all...staying on the ground and looking up.

That said, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed.I ended up skimming a lot of the tales as maybe it's just me, but most of them seemed horribly dry.Some of the historical ones were the worst at this, I fear.Not all will appeal to all audiences either.For instance the one where the boy is fingering the older woman wearing the feminine hygiene pad as they fly in adjacent sets in a jet airliner (sorry, but that is what the story is about).

Anyway, considering the variety of stories, this book is good in some ways, but I would be careful who I recommend it to.For instance, those interested in flight history or airplanes won't like a lot of the stories where planes are merely settings or tangential items. Those who are pilots will possibly think likewise (some might not completely care about a story where the main character is dating a pilot but never goes in the plane?)That's not that much different than a romance, really.For those who like short stories, this may run to boring. For those that like non-fiction or historical, the fictional or personal stories might grate.It's almost precisely because the collection of stories is so broad that while anyone might find one or two stories in here they like, I doubt most people will find themselves liking the whole book...or even most of it unless your tastes are incredibly broad. ... Read more

8. Don't Cry (Vintage Contemporaries)
by Mary Gaitskill
Paperback: 240 Pages (2010-03-09)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307275876
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Mary Gaitskill returns with a luminous new collection of stories—her first in more than ten years. In “College Town l980,” young people adrift in Ann Arbor debate the meaning of personal strength at the start of the Reagan era; in the urban fairy tale “Mirrorball,” a young man steals a girl’s soul during a one-night stand; in “The Little Boy,” a woman haunted by the death of her former husband is finally able to grieve through a mysterious encounter with a needy child. Each story delivers the powerful, original language, and the dramatic engagement of the intelligent mind with the craving body—or of the intelligent body with the craving mind—that has come to be seen as stunningly emblematic of Gaitskill’s fiction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Intense and thought-provoking
From the powerful pen of Mary Gaitskill comes DON'T CRY, her first collection of short stories in more than a decade. The tales here are intense and thought-provoking, compelling and often tragic, yet filled with a subtle magic. In just 10 stories Gaitskill explores the spectrum of emotion: lust, greed, sorrow, hope, anger and many forms of love.

The opening story, "College Town 1980" follows a group of disaffected young people in Ann Arbor and centers on the slightly older Dolores, who suffers from mental illness. She lives with her younger brother, who's a charming musician, and his strange girlfriend. Dolores spends her days antagonizing waitresses and slowly working on a degree. While there is not much action in the story, there are changes in Dolores as she tries once again to navigate in society and find comfort and strength. Like many of the characters here, Dolores is disconnected --- from herself and from society around her. Gaitskill seems to suggest that this lack of connection may in fact be the norm.

"The Agonized Face" is a similar character study. Here the first person narrator is at a literary festival, covering the event as a journalist, observing the writers and figures around her. She is at once drawn to and repelled by the "feminist author" who she hears speak and who reads from her new book. In silently demanding something particular from the author, and from each writer there, she reveals more of herself, her desires and her worldview.

All of these stories allow readers to join the characters at interesting, though not always obvious, emotional turning points. A group of people on a train in "The Arms and Legs of the Lake" confront their ideas about soldiers, war, race and mental illness, and the eponymous story, "Don't Cry," follows a woman who has accompanied her friend to Ethiopia to adopt a child. She is frustrated and challenged by the experience, and it becomes, over time, both a cocktail party anecdote and a pivotal and transformative moment.

"The Little Boy" and "Mirrorball" are a bit more lyrical and esoteric, lovely even in their depictions of sad realities.

Gaitskill's style is both mystical and concrete. Her language is frank and often harsh, but the rhythm of her narrations can be hypnotic as she delves deep into human wants and needs, pain and pleasure. This is not an optimistic collection of stories, and the frankness (about despair, sexuality, loneliness and more) may not appeal to readers looking for anything cheery or uplifting. And, while the book is not perfect ---"Folk Song" never quite coalesces and "A Dream of Men" is almost forgettable --- it's strengths are an unflinching examination of humanity and a powerful voice as well as finely drawn characters who are at once ordinary and extraordinary.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too raw and graphic for me
I've really enjoyed Mary Gaitskill's other work.The perspectives in Don't Cry, however, are much too negative for me.It seems that every woman in every story gets robbed of something precious when she engages sexually with a partner.While I found other women in Gaitskill's fiction interesting and powerful, the tone here was simply too dreary.The stories seemed redundant and I didn't finish the entire collection for fear of either jumping out the window or denouncing men for all eternity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but uneven
Mary Gaitskill's misfortune is to be the only Mary Gaitskill working the street. I mean she's alone out there, with her odd vision and idiom, not part of any tradition or school. Her narrative line is unpredictable, which can be very trying on the reader.

It is probably even more trying on the writer. Here is Gaitskill, marching on through the jungle, making her own way, with no one before her or beside her. No wonder both she and her characters always seem lost and despairing. Critics aren't an awful lot of help to her; they lazily slot her as wilfully perverse, when all she does is paint what she sees. If she positioned herself as a memoirist or social critic or writer of romantic fiction, she'd have an easier time of it.

Most of the stories here struck me as unfinished and confused in their direction. One exception, "The Arms and Legs of the Lake," is a near-perfect gem, but even so, it is experimental in technique and difficult to read simply as a short story. Basically, eight or ten characters are introduced and interact in the course of a train journey. None of them are given any description by the narrator; all exposition is given from the various characters' points of view. There is a central character with the appropriately anonymous name of Jim Smith, and we quickly learn he is a recent Iraq veteran. Most readers will immediately form a mental image of him, an image that will become more and more wrong as the story progresses. He is a slight black man on the verge of middle-age, perhaps a little crazy, perhaps feebleminded. The other characters project upon him their admiration or pity or contempt, and then make biased and critical judgments of each other. Best character of all is the black conductor on the train, inwardly snorting with contempt both for poor Jim and for the bien-pensant white folks who regard him patronizingly as a symbol of his race.

The whole story is a marvelous cats-cradle of contradictory viewpoints. It stands out in this collection because it's the only time Gaitskill ventures outside her usual garden-patch of ineffectual students and love-weary, aging women. Nevertheless it is scarcely more than a daring, irritating experiment, a tour-de-force of literary tricks and repellent characters. You don't want to meet these people again, and you don't much care what happens to them after the story ends.

The title story is irritating in a different way. Like most Gaitskill stories, it runs on two levels, that of the external action, and that of the main characters' memories and daydreams. Here the external action is a high-concept black comedy. A shallow, self-centered woman has decided to go get herself an Ethiopian baby. That by itself was enough to set my teeth on edge, though I could see Gaitskill meant to irritate me. But what was she was she cooking up? This woman who wants to buy an Ethiopian baby is accompanied by her recently widowed best friend, who imagines the trip will be a nice distraction, a therapeutic vacation. But--bwahaha!--of course it is not. The women arrive in Ethiopia just as this third-world hellhole is erupting into civil war. As their surroundings become ever more grotesque and unendurable, the friend begins to recall all the bad parts of her late marriage--her husband's family's dislike of her, his moodswings, his long descent into Alzheimer's, her own unfaithfulness. Even the hell of Ethiopia and the sound of gunfire cannot drown out these brooding thoughts. There's your classic Gaitskill motif: disaster and collapse on the outside, confusion and despair on the inside. ... Read more

9. Because They Want To
by Mary Gaitskill
Paperback: 256 Pages (1998)

Isbn: 0330351478
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10. Veronica (Spanish Edition)
by Mary Gaitskill
 Paperback: 266 Pages (2007-01-30)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$18.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8439720459
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11. Glimmer Train Stories, #64
by Cheri Johnson, Susan Perabo, James Sepsey, Antonya Nelson, Deborah Tarnoff, Susan Petrone, Elissa Minor Rust, Christiana Langenberg, Janice D. Soderling, Andrew Roe, Benjamin Percy, D.B.C. Pierre, Mary Gaitskill, Sara Whyatt
Paperback: 232 Pages (2007-08-01)
-- used & new: US$39.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1595530134
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Glimmer Train presents literary short stories by award-winning and upcoming writers. Here are some excerpts:

Cheri Johnson
Whenever one of those little wolves came in on the same pitch as another, the first wolf lifted or dropped its voice to make it sound as if the pack were growing all the time.

Susan Perabo
Why They Run the Way They Do
Sweetie,Tommy says miserably. And right then it becomes apparent that one of us is going to start crying. I m not sure which of us, but either way it s something to be thwarted at all costs.

James Sepsey
Not When a Day Can Be This Good
You re thirty-seven. I need you to be a man. Like your father, your grandfather, your great-grandfather. All men. God, you d think it d run in the family at some point.

D.B.C. Pierre
Interview by Jennifer Levasseur and Kevin Rabalais
I never quite believe writers who say they re up at seven a.m. to write a thousand words. They have a cup of tea, and then write two thousand words after lunch. I can t see that happening to me.

Antonya Nelson
He had never been an ordinary boy. He was so thin that people grew angry when he wouldn t eat.

Deborah Tarnoff
Crazy Ukraine Girl
All over the world people are preoccupied with building memorials to help them remember. But the smart ones are busy forgetting.

Susan Petrone
This Is How It Happened
I don t think any of them are in actual denial: they understand that I am dying, they re just getting used to the idea in incremental fashion.

Elissa Minor Rust
In My Mother s Trailer
My girlfriend s son, Charlie, is watching a boy about his age resuscitate a frog on tonight s news. To be fair, the boy is only pretending to resuscitate the frog, a re-enactment of the actual event, which happened earlier in the week.

Christiana Langenberg
Half of What I Know
The theory is the dog committed suicide. My father tells me this when I get home from school, after he says Luigi is gone, and I ask him what he means.

Mary Gaitskill
Interview by Sarah Anne Johnson
I was also going through physical changes, what they euphemistically call thechange of life.It was like the ground was shifting under my feet, so it was hard for me to write from a solid place.

Janice Soderling
Rented Rooms
There is a succession of rooms, all of them temporary, as life is temporary. Some of them, many of them, are filled with laughter, with friendship, with affection, with hope.

Andrew Roe
Please Don t Tell Me ThatWe go on one of those streets that seems to repeat itself every few blocks: gas stations, Home Depots, Taco Bells, Burger Kings. After that some apartments or a storage place or a used-car lot, and then the same scene all over again.

Benjamin Percy
The Caves in Oregon
The cave a lava tube runs beneath their house, their neighborhood, and beyond, a vast tunnel that once carried in it molten rock the color of an angry sun. ... Read more

12. An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area, Parts 1 & 2, Part 1: San Francisco Plays Itself
by John Chiara, Mary Gaitskill, Larry Sultan, Catherine Opie, Gus Van Sant, Laura Albert, Chauncey Hare, Alice Waters, Richard Misrach, Mary Ellen Mark, Abelardo Morell, Shi Guorui, The Size Queens
Hardcover: 60 Pages (2010-04-15)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0984303804
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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San Francisco Plays Itself utilizes the notion of autobiography as a way to explore the work of contemporary artists who have engaged with the cultural and physical landscape of the Bay Area. Featuring more than 35 photographs by 31 artists, accompanying texts provide a contextualizing articulation by each artist of his or her work that serves to emphasize the autobiographical focus in egalitarian terms. The cumulative effect of these projects exemplifies the evolution of a specific time and place, while representing the unlimited experiences and possibilities of life in a major American metropolitan region.

INCLUDING WORK & CONTRIBUTIONS BY: John Chiara, Mark Citret, Judy Dater, Kota Ezawa, Alex Fradkin, Jona Frank, Richard Gilles, Jim Goldberg, Katy Grannan, John Harding, Chauncey Hare, Christina Koci Hernandez, Zig Jackson, Michael Jang, Keba Konte, Annie Leibovitz, Alice Waters, Ken Light, Ari Marcopoulos, Mary Ellen Mark, Laura Albert, Ken Miller, William Vollmann, Richard Misrach, Abelardo Morell, Dan Nicoletta, Gus Van Sant, Catherine Opie, Adam Klein, Michael Rauner, Alice Shaw, Shi Guorui, Larry Sultan, Sergio De La Torre, Tseng Kwong Chi, Catherine Wagner, and Mary Gaitskill.

PLUS THE NEW CD BY THE SIZE QUEENS featuring guest appearances by Laura Albert, Carlos Forster, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Tim Mooney, John Murry, Danny Pearson, and Terese Taylor. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful art book & one of the best rock albums in a long long time
Imagine mid-70's Springsteen and Lou Reed rolled into a William Vollmann story and you get some idea about the brilliant record by The Size Queens that comes along with this beautiful art book about San Francisco. Buy a stack and keep them in a pile to give as gifts. This is amazing stuff, beautifully made, and a great look at the wonderful tender-underbelly of San Francisco and more. ... Read more

13. Best New American Voices 2009
by Mary Gaitskill
 Paperback: 368 Pages (2008-09-08)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$10.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003E7EU8Y
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Critically acclaimed novelist and short-story writer Mary Gaitskill continues the tradition of identifying the best young writers on the cusp of their careers in this year’s volume of Best New American Voices. Here are stories culled from hundreds of nominations submitted by writing programs such as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Johns Hopkins and from summer conferences such as Sewanee and Bread Loaf. Joshua Ferris, Julie Orringer, Adam Johnson, William Gay, Lauren Groff, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Maile Meloy, Amanda Davis, and John Murray are just some of the acclaimed authors whose early work has appeared in this series since its launch in 2000. Discover for yourself the dazzling variety of great fiction being produced in the top writers' workships--with a complete list of contact information included--and hear the best new American voices here first.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Short Stories - need to make your own personal decision about them.
I was assigned this for my book club, February 2010. The stories themselves were, on average, intriguing and varied in topic, but my little lizard-brain needs to really, truly engage with characters, and go the distance (i.e., go the regular length of a book, be it fiction or nonfiction). What I learned about myself by reading this is that I need and crave the character development and really getting inside the minds of the protagonist and other characters in the book. It's nothing personal, but short stories simply just don't do it for me. I so wish they did, too, because this collection was exceptional. God, if I'd written like this in high school...

That said, if you're a fan of short stories, I recommend it. Thanks for reading my first Amazon review and I welcome counterpoints and healthy friendly debate. Happy reading!

3-0 out of 5 stars A mixed offering from a limited source
I have to agree with the reviewer who rated the introduction as better than the overall quality of the stories in this collection.

I've been reading Best New American Voices regularly for several years now and I've come to the conclusion that the main weakness with this series is that it is limited strictly to MFA students.This assumes of course that all of the best new American writing in short form is currently being done in university programs and that anything done outside of such programs is undeserving of consideration.The falsity of this conclusion is reflected I believe in the less than stellar quality of many, if not most, of the stories presented here. By way of an example, many of these stories rely too often on techniques that, while showcasing writing skills, do little to further the development of narrative or character, which in the end is what storytelling is really all about.

Yes, by all means read Best New American Voices, if only to get a taste of what is being done by a limited selection of new fiction writers.But also read the Sci-Fi and mystery pulps, graphic novels, etc. to get a real understanding of what is being done outside the halls of academia.

5-0 out of 5 stars 99% Perfect
Most of the stories in this collection are definitely worth your time reading. The only one that I felt should not have been included, or at least should have been heavily edited, was "The Fantome of Fatma" by O. Haschemeyer. Glossaries should only be needed when reading non-fiction. In this story are a whole avalanche of jargon from the sport of rock-climbing, a field that I, along with probably millions of other people, have no personal interest, let alone experience in.

5-0 out of 5 stars "The raison d'etre of the anthology is that they are unknown."

In recent years, writing workshops have been the genesis of emerging new talent. An unexpected bonus of World War II and the GI Bill, such workshops have become increasingly popular on campuses, a breeding ground for the blooming talent that develops definition through the rigors of workshop discipline. The famed literary talents of earlier years lured young writers to big cities, where new talent drew from the experiences available on those diverse canvasses. But, increasingly, the respected, established writers are found on college and university campuses, where they conduct workshops, teaching writing skills and the basics of the craft, literally a laboratory where fresh voices are nurtured in an encouraging environment. The craft can be taught- but the most valuable ingredient, creativity, comes from the writers themselves, their particular perspectives of the world they inhabit and the words they use to inject life into their stories.

This is the ninth in a series of Best New American Voices, a collection of short fiction by promising young writers whose work is nominated for consideration; direct submissions are not accepted. Rather, there is a careful vetting process, the submissions read, debated and passed on to the guest editor, in this case, Mary Gaitskill. The result is the outstanding fourteen stories in the 2009 edition. In her introduction, Gaitskill sets the tone for her selections: "Great writing uses words in such a way that they evoke images, feelings, associations and ideas." Within the limits of the short story, the chosen writers offer some of their best work: "Yellowstone" by Baird Harper of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; "The Monkey King" by Sharon May of Stanford University; "Mules" by Erin Brown of the University of Virginia; "Welcome Home" by Theodore Wheeler of the Wesleyan Writers Conference; "The Still Point" by Lydia Peelle, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and many more.

The topics are diverse: "In Thunderbird, Illinois, I get to thinking the world is going to end" (Lydia Peelle, "The Still Point); "This was the easy intimacy of his loveless youth that Jim missed" (Theodore Wheeler, "Welcome Home"; "There was something smug and deadened in his voice- and Isabel knew she didn't want to see the man again" (Suzanne Rivecca, "Look Ma, I'm Breathing"; "Here the boys are at the edge of everything they know" (Mehdi Tavana Okasi, "Salvation Army"). The selections are fresh and provocative, filled with the varied perspectives of these writers of short fiction, the limitless landscapes of their fertile imaginations and carefully honed prose. These bright voices are inspiring, words assembled in search of a particular vision, both satisfying and energetic. Luan Gaines/ 2008.
... Read more

14. Da Capo Best Music Writing 2006: The Year's Finest Writing on Rock, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Pop, Country, & More
Kindle Edition: 352 Pages (2006-10-23)
list price: US$15.95
Asin: B001NEIPZO
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Whether you count yourself a member of the hip-hop nation, bang your head yearly at Ozzfest, wear a cowboy hat, or dance to the top twenty, you're sure to find something to love in Da Capo Best Music Writing 2006. Gathering a rich array of writing by music journalists, novelists, and scribes from a wide range of sources-highbrow literary quarterlies to 'zines and blogs--Da Capo Best Music Writing is a multi-voiced snapshot of the year in music writing that, like the music it illuminates, is every bit as thrilling as it is revealing.
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15. The Best American Erotica, 2005 -- Including Stories By Jane Smiley, Mary Gaitskill, Steve Almond, and Nelson George
by Susie (Editor) Bright
 Paperback: Pages (2005-01-01)

Asin: B003M2S000
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16. Biography - Gaitskill, Mary (1954-): An article from: Contemporary Authors Online
by Gale Reference Team
 Digital: 10 Pages (2007-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007SBUMW
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Word count: 2919. ... Read more

17. New Yorker June 9 2008 Summer Fiction Issue, Vladimir Nabokov - Elizabeth Kolbert - Haruki Murakami - Annie Proulx - Mary Gaitskill Fiction, The Work of Ezra Pound, Jeff Koons Retrospective, Poems by Philip Levine & Gerald Stern, Auto-Tune
Single Issue Magazine: Pages (2008)
-- used & new: US$4.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003C8BUR4
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18. Open City #7: The Rubbed Away Girl
by Mary Gaitskill, David Berman, Bliss Broyard, Steve Malkmus, Will Oldham, Sam Lipsyte, Victor Pelevin, Hal Sirowitz, Elizabeth Macklin, Jimmy Raskin, Jeff Burton, Laura Larson, Thomas Beller, Daniel Pinchbeck
Paperback: 152 Pages (1999-02-01)
list price: US$8.00 -- used & new: US$115.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1890447188
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Stories and poetry by today's best new writers. Thisissue features writing by several of your favorite indie rockers. ... Read more

19. Open City Number Five : Change or Die (No. 5)
by David Foster Wallace, Mary Gaitskill, Delmore Schwartz, Helen Thorpe, Irvine Welsh, Jerome Badanes
Paperback: 240 Pages (1997-05-01)
list price: US$8.00 -- used & new: US$99.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1890447161
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Features a classic novella by Jerome Badanes and HelenThorpe on the murder of Ireland's most famous female journalist. PlusDelmore Schwartz on T.S. Eliot's squint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars These tiny exceptions
How is it that the Final Opus of Leon Solomon is out of print in both hardcover and paperback?

The book's author, Jerome Badanes, died halfway through the sequel to The Final Opus of Leon Solomon. What he had written,and revised himself, was a pretty amazing 100 page novella called Change orDie which appears in Issue number #5 of Open City in its entirety.

It isalways a peculiar thing when you take a piece of writing that has so muchpeculiar character and substance, and lump it in with all the other stuffthat happens to comprise that issue of the magazine.

This issue has someabsurd wild cards - when seen in the light of its central feature,"Change or Die,"- such as an Irvine Welsh story he wroteshortly after completely Trainspotting, and this wonderful piece ofnon-sense that Delmore Schwartz wrote about T.S. Eliot's anti-Semitism.That is the one interesting thematic thread in this issue--Both Shwartz andthe academic protagonist of Change or Die (a man trying to recover fromShakespeare,) have a certain lovely fatedness about them.

And Change orDie has one of my favorite short lead sentences:

"The Blik familywas a dream and an education."

What a great beginning to such agreat story!

(And what a concise and honest use of the short sentence,which has been bastardized and beaten up on any number of fronts, fromHemingway imitators to the cold pragmatism of news providers).

If thiswhole computer as a means to shop for books is to have any good side, thenit is that finding a book like, "The Final Opus of Leon Solomon,"or getting your hands on the novella "Change of Die" is somethingyou MUST GET! If only to make use of the fact that you are sitting in frontof a computer and perusing.

Jerome Badanes. He is coming back in theonly way he can. ... Read more

20. Don't Cry
by Mary Gaitskill
 Hardcover: Pages (2009-01-01)

Asin: B002K4FP0O
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