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Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays
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Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays


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.

Title:Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:272 pages
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    Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays Reviews

  • Sarah
    May 04, 2017

    I had no idea Ms. Gaitskill was such a prolific essayist. I think I have read all her published novels and short stories, and consider myself a fan. This was like finding a treasure chest long-buried ...

  • Lindsay
    Mar 29, 2017

    Among many, many other wonderful things (an amazing meditation on Linda Lovelace; a 50-page essay about a lost cat that rattled me so deeply I had to walk it off after finishing it), this collection c...

  • David
    May 04, 2017

    I started out loving this collection of essays, then became somewhat disenchanted and read a different book about halfway-through when several of the essays struck me as just thrown into the collectio...

  • James
    May 13, 2017

    I adored Gaitskill's first book, the short story collection Bad Behavior, which was something of a succès de scandale in the late 80s. That period was the cultural high-water mark of humorless, anti-...

  • Ray
    May 04, 2017

    Excellent collection of essays. It provided a realignment of thought. Wide range of subjects, some unexpected. ...

  • Heidi Butler
    Feb 24, 2017

    I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book. I entered a giveaway hoping to expand my reading collection. I wasn't sure it was going to be my thing but I loved it and will be looking to s...

  • Carol
    Nov 06, 2016

    I read all but a couple of these essays. What a good mind, doesn't go for the easy answers....

  • Bruce
    May 02, 2017

    3-4 of these 30 previously published essays are great. Mary Gaitskill is a brave and skilled writer. However, this is a poor impersonation of a book...

  • Samantha
    May 02, 2017

    3.5 stars. I've been reading Gaitskill for a long time and have always appreciated her unconventional approaches to her subjects. This book isn't too cohesive as a collection - it has a mix of persona...

  • Allison Floyd
    Apr 26, 2017

    More like skimmed. Since this consists primarily of previously published material, I was familiar with some of it. I enjoyed her review of Gone Girl. ...