Published in , these nine darkly wondrous stories rebelliously refuse to conform; several involve abnormal sexual behavior, but not all. Several take place in Manhattan, but not all. Several are third person accounts, but not all. Several feature female protagonists, but not all. In spite of the eclecticism, I felt a thrill at discovering each entry, which felt like time capsules from the late 20th century, bottled My introduction to the fiction of Mary Gaitskill is Bad Behavior: Stories.
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Published in , these nine darkly wondrous stories rebelliously refuse to conform; several involve abnormal sexual behavior, but not all.
Several take place in Manhattan, but not all. Several are third person accounts, but not all. Several feature female protagonists, but not all. In spite of the eclecticism, I felt a thrill at discovering each entry, which felt like time capsules from the late 20th century, bottled My introduction to the fiction of Mary Gaitskill is Bad Behavior: Stories.
In spite of the eclecticism, I felt a thrill at discovering each entry, which felt like time capsules from the late 20th century, bottled with hang-ups and distractions that impeded happiness in a certain place or time. Beloved by staff and customers alike, Daisy has widely discussed her romantic difficulties, unable to force her pitiful live-in boyfriend to break up with her. She agrees to spend a weekend with her paramour, flying with him from New York to Washington D.
Spending the night in an empty apartment belonging to his grandmother, the weekend becomes a disaster. Neither understand why this should be so difficult. He had met her at a party during the previous week. She immediately reminded him of a girl he had known years before, Sharon, a painfully serious girl with a pale, serious face whom he had tormented on and off for two years before leaving for his wife.
Although it had gratified him enormously to leave her, he had missed hurting her for years, and had been self-consciously looking for another woman with a similarly fatal combination of pride, weakness and a foolish lust for something resembling passion.
On meeting Beth, he was astonished at how much she looked, talked and moved like his former victim. She was delicately morbid in all her gestures, sensitive, arrogant, vulnerable to flattery. She veered between extravagant outbursts of opinion and sudden, uncertain halts, during which she seemed to look at him for approval. She was in love with the idea of intelligence, and she overestimated her own. Her sense of the world, though she presented it aggressively, could be, he sensed, snatched out from under her with little or not trouble.
She said, "I hope you are a savage. There, he employs the services of "Lisette," a prostitute he spends most of his hour talking to. She finds Fred gentler and nicer than most of her clients and when he returns over the next two nights, she admits her real name is Jane. Her intelligence and manner appeals to him and he begins to fantasize about meeting her outside the brothel for a real date.
Hyper-aware of his prospects, Joel has yet to find a woman to accommodate him. He casually dismissed Sarah years ago and appears likely to do the same again. They talked about leather gloves, high heels and their favorite writers. Susan realized that almost anything you talked about with this girl would seem important.
And it appeared that Leisha was having a similar reaction to her. It was, as Leisha said later, the time they fell in love. To her surprise, she receives a job offer from an architectural journal hiring an editorial assistant, but finds that a conventional relationship with a man who pays her for sex may not work. The letters were full of triple exclamation points, crazy dashes or dots instead of periods, violently underlined words and huge swirling capital letters with tails fanning across several lines.
Another spoiled, pretty daughter who fancied herself a gypsy princess, barefooted, spangled with bright beads, breasts arrogantly unbound, cavalier in love.
Like Magdalen. Our friends will make a circle around us and chant. Her stories are filled with ghosts, deviant thoughts, personal humiliations, the monkey shaking the inner tree of her characters that refuses to shut up. As infrequently complete as most of these stories feel, I was exhilarated reading them, with Trying To Be my favorite. Of course, she realized what he liked about her.
He loved the idea of kooky, art girls who lived "bohemian" lives and broke all the rules. It was the kind of thing he regarded with a certain admiration, but did not want to do himself. He had probably had affairs with eccentric, unpredictable women in college, and then married the most stable, socially desirable woman he could find.
This did not make her feel contempt or draw away from him. She liked this vicarious view of herself; it excited and reassured her.
She was a bohemian, experimenting. The idea made rock music start playing in her head. She kissed him with something resembling passion.
The city that draws those who dream of being published in The New Yorker or living important lives figures into Bad Behavior, but not every story takes place in New York and what I liked about this collection is how idiosyncratic each story was. Neither love stories or hate stories, they begin with the potential to be either.
They took me into risky territory. An AFI student named Steven Shainberg was too and he directed Secretary as a wonderful low budget feature film in Instead of sadomasochism being portrayed as damaging, the screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson proposes that the experience could be liberating.
These lawyers are winners in court and cocky in bed. They know what they want and how to get it. But even the most high-powered suit can be brought to his knees. Bad Bitch They call me the Bad Bitch.
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Life[ edit ] Gaitskill was born in Lexington, Kentucky. She sold flowers in San Francisco as a teenage runaway. She married the writer Peter Trachtenberg in They divorced in The first four stories are written in the third person point of view from the perspectives of male characters. The remaining five stories are written from the perspectives of female characters. Secretary is the only story in the book written in the first person point of view.