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Somebody with a Little Hammer by Mary Gaitskill
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Somebody with a Little Hammer

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Somebody with a Little Hammer by Mary Gaitskill
Paperback $18.00
Apr 17, 2018 | ISBN 9780307472335

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  • Apr 17, 2018 | ISBN 9780307472335

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  • Apr 04, 2017 | ISBN 9781101871775

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“A cool and formidable collection.” —The New York Times

“Essential reading. . . . [Gaitskill] has a gift for traversing taboo territory with a subtlety that’s sometimes downright Jamesian, even if the shenanigans that catch her eye would have shocked the Old Master out of his wits.” —The Boston Globe
“[Gaitskill’s] exceptionally discerning writings on women . . . make one wish she had (or even wanted) her own syndicated newspaper column.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Gaitskill never fails to transport her reader . . . These essays not only embrace but define their subjects, making you rethink the way you interact with the things around you in a much more meaningful way.” —Newsweek
“While Gaitskill is best known for her fiction, this collection demonstrates her power as an essayist, and thrums with the same sexual energy.” —The New Yorker

“A beautiful, thought-provoking work [that] cements Mary Gaitskill as one of the sharpest critical thinkers and most important cultural critics of our time. . . . A deep-dive into everything from contemporary fiction to modern politics to American womanhood, [that] will shake you to your core.” —Bustle
“If you have not yet worked through a thought with Gaitskill, Somebody with a Little Hammer is a primer. It makes entirely clear how seriously she takes the idea of fairness, in life and in fiction, and how averse she is to even the lightest thumb on the scale.” —Bookforum
“Strewn with . . . pearls. . . . Readers of Gaitskill’s novels and short stories will recognize the shrewdness, and the themes.” —Harper’s Magazine
“It feels refreshing to finally have a grownup in the room, laying down the law but not really caring whether you follow it or not.” —Boston Review
“Gaitskill’s writing is somehow crucial in a way few of her peers can achieve. She says the things you didn’t know needed to be said until she says them, and only then do you know what you’ve been missing.” —The Buffalo News
“When Gaitskill writes about any book, it’s a full-on contact sport, where the boundaries between her and the book are so fluid as to be barely there. . . . Immersing yourself in her world for a page or three has the bracing aliveness of throwing yourself into almost-freezing water.” —The Columbus Dispatch
“The pages burst with insight and a candid, unflinching self-assessment.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A voice of reason and sanity, of piercing intelligence and generous humanity.” —The Los Angeles Review of Books
“The world is Mary Gaitskill’s nail in Somebody with a Little Hammer.” —

Table Of Contents

A Lot of Exploding Heads
On Reading the Book of Revelation 

The Trouble with Following the Rules
On “Date Rape,” “Victim Culture,” and Personal Responsibility 

A Lovely Chaotic Silliness
A Review of The Fermata by Nicholson Baker 

Toes ’n Hose
A Review of From the Tip of the Toes to the Top of the Hose by Elmer Batters, and Nothing But the Girl, edited by Susie Bright and Jill Posener 

Crackpot Mystic Spirit
A Review of Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes by Greil Marcus 

A Review of Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel 

Dye Hard
A Review of Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates 

Mechanical Rabbit
A Review of Licks of Love by John Updike 

I’ve Seen It All
Thoughts on a Song by Björk 

And It Would Not Be Wonderful to Meet a Megalosaurus
On Bleak House by Charles Dickens 

Remain in Light
On the Talking Heads 

Victims and Losers: A Love Story
Thoughts on the Movie Secretary 

The Bridge
A Memoir of Saint Petersburg 

Somebody with a Little Hammer
On Teaching “Gooseberries” by Anton Chekhov 

Enchantment and Cruelty
On Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie 

Worshipping the Overcoat
An Election Diary 

This Doughty Nose
On Norman Mailer’s An American Dream and The Armies of the Night 

Lost Cat
A Memoir 

I See Their Hollowness
A Review of Cockroach by Rawi Hage 

Lives of the Hags
A Review of Baba Yaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka Ugresic 

Leave the Woman Alone!
On the Never-Ending Political Extramarital Scandals 

Master’s Mind
A Review of Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk 

Imaginary Light
A Song Called “Nowhere Girl” 

Form over Feeling
A Review of Out by Natsuo Kirino 

Beg for Your Life
On the Films of Laurel Nakadate 

The Cunning of Women
On One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan al-Shaykh 

Pictures of Lo
On Covering Lolita 

The Easiest Thing to Forget
On Carl Wilson’s Let’s Talk About Love 

She’s Supposed to Make You Sick
A Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

On Linda Lovelace 

That Running Shadow of Your Voice
On Nabokov’s Letters to Véra 


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