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Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Mary Gaitskill's new collection of essays allows you to wander, quite freely, around her head.  Gaitskill has distilled her best, quirkiest, most compelling essays from the last twenty (plus) years into one volume.  There's a little bit of everything in here -memoir, literary and art criticism, political editorials, music reviews- and Gaitskill has infused it all with her subjectie wisdom and incomparable observations.  The passion Gaitskill feels for her subjects is tangible, resulting in a wonderful and invigorating read.

— From Charlotte's Picks


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.

About the Author

MARY GAITSKILL is the author of the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To (nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award), and Don't Cry, and the novels The Mare, Veronica (nominated for the National Book Award), and Two Girls, Fat and Thin. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Artforum, and Granta, among many other journals, as well as in The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780307378224
ISBN-10: 0307378225
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Pages: 288
Language: English