Somebody with a Little Hammer by Mary Gaitskill
Essays

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Mary Gaitskill’s first book of nonfiction – a cool and formidable collection of essays, reviews and other matter – takes its title from a sentence in Anton Chekhov’s short story Gooseberries.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

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 Björk, 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 Mary Gaitskill

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Mary Gaitskill’s novel, Veronica, was nominated for a 2005 National Book Award and was one of The New York Times’s 10 Best Books of 2005. She is also the author of the acclaimed novels Because They Wanted To and Two Girls, Fat and Thin. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories (1993), and The O. Henry Prize Stories (1998). Her short story “Secretary” was the basis for the film of the same name. She lives in New York.
 
Published April 4, 2017 by Pantheon. 288 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Somebody with a Little Hammer
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Jan 04 2017

Glimpses of a writer’s life through a miscellany of reviews, anecdotes, and musings...Gaitskill has not published a memoir, but this collection makes that prospect tantalizing.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Apr 04 2017

The news these essays bring is, I am happy to say, not at all. She continues to wield a remorseless little hammer.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Apr 10 2017

Mary Gaitskill’s first book of nonfiction – a cool and formidable collection of essays, reviews and other matter – takes its title from a sentence in Anton Chekhov’s short story Gooseberries.

Read Full Review of Somebody with a Little Hammer... | See more reviews from National Post arts

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