Somebody With A Little Hammer: Essays

Hardcover | April 4, 2017

byMary Gaitskill

not yet rated|write a review
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.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$30.45 online
$34.95 list price (save 12%)
Pre-order online
Ships free on orders over $25
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

From the Publisher

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 bey...

MARY GAITSKILL is the author of the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To (nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award), and Don’t Cry, and the novels The Mare, Veronica (nominated for the National Book Award), and Two Girls, Fat and Thin. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Artforum, and Granta,...

other books by Mary Gaitskill

The Mare: A Novel
The Mare: A Novel

Paperback|Oct 4 2016

$19.54 online$22.95list price(save 14%)
Bad Behavior: Stories
Bad Behavior: Stories

Paperback|Jul 21 2009

$15.46 online$16.99list price(save 9%)
Two Girls, Fat and Thin: A Novel
Two Girls, Fat and Thin: A Novel

Paperback|Feb 27 1998

$20.64 online$22.99list price(save 10%)
see all books by Mary Gaitskill
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.7 × 1 inPublished:April 4, 2017Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307378225

ISBN - 13:9780307378224

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Somebody With A Little Hammer: Essays

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

A Lot of Exploding Heads
On Reading the Book of Revelation 3

The Trouble with Following the Rules
On “Date Rape,” “Victim Culture,” and Personal Responsibility 10

A Lovely Chaotic Silliness
A Review of The Fermata by Nicholson Baker 27

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 30

Crackpot Mystic Spirit
A Review of Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes by Greil Marcus 33

Bitch
A Review of Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel 36

Dye Hard
A Review of Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates 41

Mechanical Rabbit
A Review of Licks of Love by John Updike 46

I’ve Seen It All
Thoughts on a Song by Björk 53

And It Would Not Be Wonderful to Meet a Megalosaurus
On Bleak House by Charles Dickens 58

Remain in Light
On the Talking Heads 71

Victims and Losers: A Love Story
Thoughts on the Movie Secretary 76

The Bridge
A Memoir of Saint Petersburg 85

Somebody with a Little Hammer
On Teaching “Gooseberries” by Anton Chekhov 105

Enchantment and Cruelty
On Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie 111

Worshipping the Overcoat
An Election Diary 114

This Doughty Nose
On Norman Mailer’s An American Dream and The Armies of the Night 120

Lost Cat
A Memoir 131

I See Their Hollowness
A Review of Cockroach by Rawi Hage 180

Lives of the Hags
A Review of Baba Yaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka Ugresic 185

Leave the Woman Alone!
On the Never-Ending Political Extramarital Scandals 191

Master’s Mind
A Review of Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk 199

Imaginary Light
A Song Called “Nowhere Girl” 205

Form over Feeling
A Review of Out by Natsuo Kirino 210

Beg for Your Life
On the Films of Laurel Nakadate 215

The Cunning of Women
On One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan al-Shaykh 222

Pictures of Lo
On Covering Lolita 229

The Easiest Thing to Forget
On Carl Wilson’s Let’s Talk About Love 235

She’s Supposed to Make You Sick
A Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 241

Icon
On Linda Lovelace 248

That Running Shadow of Your Voice
On Nabokov’s Letters to Véra 261

Acknowledgments 271

Editorial Reviews

“Gaitskill is as original in these reviews and personal essays, gathered over two decades, as she is in her fiction; from pieces on Gone Girl and Talking Heads to others on losing her cat, date rape, and born-again Christianity her trajectory may seem apparent but she often takes us to unexpected, revelatory places.” —Paul S. Makishima, The Boston Globe"This collection of essays spanning two decades has the same fearless curiosity about the human psyche that Gaitskill exhibits in her fiction, along with the same unerring precision of prose . . . The pages burst with insight and a candid, unflinching self-assessment sure to thrill Gaitskill’s existing fans and win her new ones." —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)“Gaitskill’s biting tongue and literary pyrotechnics make for a delightful combination.”—Poornima Apte, Booklist--------------------PRAISE FOR MARY GAITSKILL “No writer is sharper about the fickle exigencies of desire.” —Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker“Ambiguity—the inseparability of light and darkness, love and pain, nurture and destruction, progress and regress—is her métier. The question she seems to ask again and again, and with astonishing force . . . is how to feel, how we do feel.” —Stacey D’Ersamo, The New York Times Book Review“Gaitskill’s prose has never been cold, that’s only what it has been called; and her writing has never been about the absence of emotion so much as its unapologetic abundance. She resists sentimentality not by banishing feeling to the white margins with understatement but by granting emotion enough space to misbehave.” —Leslie Jameson, Bookforum “Gaitskill’s strange gift is to unfold emotions, no matter how petty or upsetting, and describe them with disarming patience for their stutters and silences, their repetitions and contradictions. The result often feels both primal and electric, something like a latter-day D. H. Lawrence.” —Amy Gentry, Chicago Tribune “Bracing in its rigorous truth-seeking, subtle and capacious in its moral vision, Gaitskill’s work feels more real than real life, and reading her leads to a place that feels like a sacred space.” —Priscilla Gilman, The Boston Globe