Mary Gaitskill

Mary Gaitskill’s first story collection, Bad Behavior, gave readers and reviewers a prurient jolt with its cast of women turning tricks on New York street corners, druggies, sadomasochists, and twisted office sex, followed by bribed silence. But the decadence and corruption were ultimately less remarkable than the frank, unapologetic manner of the stories. In conversation, Gaitskill invokes Nabokov as an inspiration, and she creates her works much as he created his Lolita, with “no moral in tow.” She touches the cold, dark, dreadful edges of life with perfect humanity.

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