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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Monday, August 31 - Mary Gaitskill

Monday at noon my guest on Bibliocracy is Mary Gaitskill. She is author of three collections of stories and two novels including her breakthrough first book, Bad Behavior. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories and The O.Henry Prize Stories and a recent issue of The Threepenny Review. Among literary artists, Mary Gaitskill makes plausible and real, even required of her characters a seriousness and urgency about the ideas that inform their sorrow, self-destruction, recklessness, curiosity, confusion and, above all, pain. "Sometimes, things that look really ugly on the outside look different when you get up close," the protagonist of a new story tells herself. Another searches for what she calls “the agonized face,” an honest representation of sex and women’s pain. Gaitskill’s characters struggle with “wordless knowledge” and, in one, a man steals a woman’s soul, which talks to him. Always, in the language and dialog, in the characterization of troubled people, there is more than we and they can bear, and more than many writers are able to tell. Ten stories by Mary Gaitskill, collected here in Don’t Cry, make for a real occasion for short story readers, and it’s my pleasure to welcome her to Bibliocracy.

Stay tuned in the encore half-hour for a rebroadcast of my interview with Blake Baily, John Cheever biographer. Thanks for listening, and for supporting the work of the only independent community radio station in Southern California. 90.7 FM/98.7 FM in Santa Barbara. Online and archived at

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