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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...

  • Jane
    Jun 14, 2017

    What an amazing book. I've found this author's fiction way too dark, but decided to read this collection based on a review. Oh, I'm so glad. There's a memoir in the center of the book called "Lost Cat...

  • 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...

  • Heather
    Jun 24, 2017

    I love Mary, her mind is incredibly brilliant. I'm so thankful I got to meet her at Bookpeople a couple of years ago. This book of her essays written from the mid-1990s to present time from various pu...

  • 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-...

  • Sonya
    Jun 18, 2017

    I'm giving this essay collection four stars because I love and connect with Gaitskill's writing, and especially on the strength of her personal essays. The one that I admire most is about a lost kitte...

  • Kallie
    Jun 25, 2017

    Gaitskill is so thoughtful, and though passionate seldom judgmental. If she dislikes something, she explores and analyzes her dislike rather than flatly dismissing the cause. I especially appreciate h...

  • Ryan McKay
    Jun 16, 2017

    The core of this book is the long (17,000 word) thoroughly engrossing essay (originally published in Granta) called "Lost Cat," which is one of the best things Gaitskill has ever written. Unfortunatel...

  • Kim
    Jun 01, 2017

    This book is packed with great writing, but worth picking up ENTIRELY for the essay "Lost Cat," which was gorgeous and devastating. Gaitskill has a raw, intelligently direct way of writing that I find...