Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays

Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays

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 o From one of the most singular presences in American fiction comes a searingly intelligent book of essays on matters liter...

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Title:Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays
Author:Mary Gaitskill
Rating:
Genres:Writing
ISBN:0307378225
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:288 pages pages

Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays Reviews

  • Marianne
    Jul 04, 2018
    So, first thing, I took off a whole star because for some reason Gaitskill really likes using the r-word. Bleh. Both to describe people with intellectual disabilities and also to insult people more or less randomly. I'm not sure if it's something where she uses all kinds of slurs for W...
  • El
    Jul 03, 2018
    To clear up one important detail, this is not just a collection of essays. There are reviews here, pre-published reviews on books, music, and movies. If you want personal essays, you will get that, but you will also get several reviews on things you might not care about. Some of us do;...
  • lindy
    Mar 29, 2017
    Among many, many other wonderful things (an amazing meditation on Linda Lovelace; a 50-page essay about a lost cat that rattled me so deeply I had to walk it off after finishing it), this collection contains the best and most withering take-down of Gone Girl I've ever read. Hail Mary, ...
  • Kate
    Feb 28, 2018
    Mary Gaitskill's essays are paragons. Whether she is addressing her visit to post-Soviet Saint Petersburg in ?The Bridge,? Carl Wilson?s assessment of listener response to Céline Dion in ?The Easiest Thing to Forget,? or garish manifestations of social stratification in crum...
  • Sarah
    May 04, 2017
    I had no idea Ms. Gaitskill was such a prolific essayist. I think I have read all her published novels and short stories, and consider myself a fan. This was like finding a treasure chest long-buried in the attic. Like her or not, Ms. Gaitskill has a strong and familiar voice. I admir...
  • Jane
    Jun 14, 2017
    What an amazing book. I've found this author's fiction way too dark, but decided to read this collection based on a review. Oh, I'm so glad. There's a memoir in the center of the book called "Lost Cat." It is a layered memoir about the author's involvement with two children from New Yo...
  • Iva
    Jun 06, 2017
    Mary Gaitskill demonstrates quite a range in these essays. Some are book reviews, others are about pop culture, and many are very personal. The longest (and best) essay is about when she brought a "Fresh Air Fund" child from New York to upstate New York and her involvement with the fam...
  • James
    May 13, 2017
    I adored Gaitskill's first book, the short story collection Bad Behavior, which was something of a succès de scandale in the late 80s. That period was the cultural high-water mark of humorless, anti-porn, sex-negative feminism and I lived in Berkeley. The "progressive" cultural establ...
  • Julene
    Feb 20, 2018
    The title, "Somebody with a Little Hammer" is from a Chekhov speech in the story "Gooseberries" she reveals in an essay with the same name. The quote is: "At the door of every centered, happy man somebody should stand with a little hammer, constantly tapping, to remind him that unhappy...
  • Sonya
    Jun 18, 2017
    I'm giving this essay collection four stars because I love and connect with Gaitskill's writing, and especially on the strength of her personal essays. The one that I admire most is about a lost kitten, which is the basis of her novel The Mare. The Mare got a lot of criticism for the...
  • Ryan
    Feb 11, 2018
    A very impressive essay collection and probably one of the best books I'll read this year. The best inclusions, IMHO, were: -"The Trouble With Following The Rules" -"Bitch," a review of Wurtzel's Bitch, in Praise of Difficult Women -"Somebody With a Little Hammer" -"Leave the ...
  • Ryan
    Jun 16, 2017
    The core of this book is the long (17,000 word) thoroughly engrossing essay (originally published in Granta) called "Lost Cat," which is one of the best things Gaitskill has ever written. Unfortunately, nearly everything else in this collection is so minor in comparison to this masterl...
  • Kallie
    Jun 25, 2017
    Gaitskill is so thoughtful, and though passionate seldom judgmental. If she dislikes something, she explores and analyzes her dislike rather than flatly dismissing the cause. I especially appreciate her thought that art is not about providing people with instruction manuals for life an...
  • Sandy Sopko
    Jun 12, 2017
    Fascinating topics (many, the Book of Revelation, the meaning of a lost beloved cat, political extramarital scandals, election takeaways, Peter Pan, Dickens, etc., etc.) in this collection. Gaitskill shies away from nothing. Her observations cut like a surgeon's knife while she questio...
  • Kim
    Jun 01, 2017
    This book is packed with great writing, but worth picking up ENTIRELY for the essay "Lost Cat," which was gorgeous and devastating. Gaitskill has a raw, intelligently direct way of writing that I find refreshing, especially after reading essay after essay by younger women who seem to b...
  • Juliet
    May 17, 2018
    I'm a huge fan of her fiction so was intrigued by her essays. 1) She's an amazing writer, critical thinker. You don't have to agree with her, but she's great at arguing for empathy. 2) Her book reviews make me want to be a writer. At the very least, read Chekhov's "Gooseberries". 3...
  • Holly
    Jul 27, 2017
    My god to write and think like Mary Gaitskill. There is a piece in this collection that was written as far back as 1997 about date rape and I thought - do I need to read this? should I skim it since that is so long ago and Jon Krakauer and Laura Kipnis and all the new takes on sexism o...
  • Heather
    Jun 24, 2017
    I love Mary, her mind is incredibly brilliant. I'm so thankful I got to meet her at Bookpeople a couple of years ago. This book of her essays written from the mid-1990s to present time from various publications is both a time capsule of the eras written in and yet freshly relevant to o...
  • Kris
    Aug 01, 2018
    3.5 stars -- rounded up on the strength of "Lost Cat: A Memoir." ...
  • Alex Hubbard
    Jun 14, 2017
    It's an understatement to say Mary Gaitskill writes well. Each word and sentence in Somebody with a Little Hammer is a pleasure to read, and the author certainly knows her stuff when it comes to writing and evaluating fiction. Still, the fact that the bulk of this book is previously pu...
  • Sarah
    Nov 06, 2017
    This was a little uneven. To be expected considering it's a compilation of essays and editorials and book reviews. I love Mary Gaitskill but I don't care about anyone's review of Dickens or Chekhov or Nabokov. Some interesting stuff in here that's essentially about rape culture but as ...
  • David
    May 04, 2017
    I started out loving this collection of essays, then became somewhat disenchanted and read a different book about halfway-through when several of the essays struck me as just thrown into the collection to pad the length of the book. After finishing the book in between, I returned, dete...
  • Josh
    Jan 06, 2018
    What's great in here is really great, and everything is entertaining, thanks to Gaitskill's talent as a writer and her affable, funny voice. As a collection though, it felt pretty loose -- reviews and personal essays and cultural critique from a wide range of time, and if you're not in...
  • Gloria
    Nov 18, 2017
    I dunno, this just wasn't my kind of book. It wasn't particularly interesting or insightful. There was maybe one essay I liked, about an 80s song I'd never heard. There were a lot of reviews of books I wasn't familiar with. But even essays about her personal life were kind of obnoxious...
  • Katrina
    Oct 25, 2018
    A few essays mixed in with reviews of books and movies that were, for the most part, unfamiliar. With the exception of the essay on the missing cat and the one on Sarah Palin, none of this moved, enlightened or humored me. I found it all a bit pretentious and disturbing in its imagery....
  • Joel
    Dec 17, 2017
    The main question I have after coming out of this thing is what interest could there possibly be in a review of a foot fetish photo collection twenty years after the article (and photo collection) was originally published? ...
  • Kathy
    Dec 18, 2018
    I've read all of Gaitskill's short story collections and one novel, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that she's also an excellent writer of non-fiction essays, many of them collected here. The topics vary widely, including memoir; book, film and art reviews; ruminations on Linda ...
  • Jeremy
    Jan 17, 2018
    Enjoyable essays. I've never read a Gaitskill book but decided to read her essays based on recommendations. I had no idea who she was. But I found her to be an interesting person, certainly very different from me. She wrote well and was extremely open about her life, including multiple...
  • CaitlynK
    Sep 20, 2017
    "If someone had told me when I was ten that I would grow up to be a writer, that I would be invited to read in Russia, and that a Beatle would be playing just a few blocks away, it would have made life worth living. Now that it had all happened, I was simply put out by the lack of toil...
  • Laura
    May 01, 2019
    As with nearly any essay collection, some of the essays in this are better than others. But when it?s bad, it?s just kind of meh, and when it?s good, it?s very good. I especially liked ?The Trouble with Following the Rules: On ?Date Rape,? ?Victim Culture,? and Person...