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Works by
Mary Gaitskill
[November 11, 1954 - ]

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Profile created December 22, 2006
Updated October 8, 2009
  • Veronica (2005)
    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.

  • Two Girls Fat and Thin (1991)
    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.

Short Stories
  • Don't Cry: Stories (2009)
    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.

  • Because They Wanted To (1997) -- Nominated nominated for the 1998 PEN/Faulkner Award
    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.

  • Bad Behavior (1988)
    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.)

  • Secretary: Screenplay (2003) by Erin Cressida Wilson
    Based on a short story, Secretary, by Mary Gaitskill which appeared in Bad Behavior
    Movie (2002), with Amy Locane, James Spader, Lily Knight, Maggie Gyllenhaal  DVD VHS

See also:
  • Communion: Contemporary Writers Reveal the Bible in Their Lives (1996) by David Rosenberg, ed.
    See essay "Revelation"
    Bestselling author David Rosenberg (The Book of J, written with Harold Bloom) has used his penetrating insight and ecumenical scholarship to bring together a spirited congregation of our most interesting, provocative and beloved literary writers to explore the Christian bible--the Old and New Testaments--in their lives. In a dazzling collection of original essays that are by turns illuminating, reflective, deeply personal and always revealing, writers as diverse as Joyce Carol Oates and Kathleen Norris, David Bradley and Michael Dorris, search out the literary traditions and spiritual meanings of specific books of the Bible-from Genesis to Ecclesiastes, from the Gospel According to Saint Matthew to the Gospel According to John-and examine how they conflict with, challenge, contradict or elucidate their work, their inner lives and the world around them. Entitled Communion, the collection embraces writers from a wide variety of (primarily) Christian backgrounds; some remain deeply religious, while others have fallen away from the traditions and spirit of organized religion. But for each, the Bible has had a lasting and often pivotal influence on their writing and their thought.

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