Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill – A trade paperback reissue of National Book Award finalist Mary Gaitskill’s debut collection, Bad Behavior—powerful stories. This collection of nine stories by Avery Hopwood Award-winner Gaitskill marks the debut of a promising and provocative new voice. These are tales of sexual. Mary Gaitskill (born November 11, ) is an American novelist, essayist, and short story Gaitskill attempted to find a publisher for four years before her first book, the short story collection Bad Behavior, was published in The first four.

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Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill

Thanks for telling us bbad the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill. Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill. Fierce, raw tales of love and sex and obsession–not since Ethan Canin’s Emperor of the Air has there been such excitement surrounding a debut short-story collection.

First time in paperback. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Bad Behaviorplease sign up. Mickey I read it when I was 14, and it was way too adult for me. But then again, it didn’t scar me for life.

I think bda only story that she’s ever written …more I read it when I was 14, and it was way too adult for me. I think the only story that she’s ever written that does not have any X-rated details would be “Tiny Smiling Daddy”, the first story in “Because They Wanted To”. I’d probably wait to share the rest until she was around 25, and then only if you are not related to her. See 1 question about Bad Behavior….

Lists with This Book. Jul 05, Janice rated it did not like it Shelves: I know I probably sound like a lunatic, and maybe I am.

Mary Gaitskill

I probably need to be in Rageaholics Anonymous http: Anyway, none of my usual victims have been willing to engage with me OK, not really, but for once I wanted to be wrong. For these reasons I decided to step outside of my admittedly narrow comfort zone, and give this a try. So, what started out as a mild distaste with a pinch of schadenfruede eventually devolved into a full on hate-read.

For the uninitiated, the hate-read, which is analogous to its more ubiquitous and slutty cousin, the hate-fuck, is an activity wherein one disseminates written content with the distinct objective of deriding it.

For me, this activity is normally limited to certain websites I peruse on the internet e. Thus, I have never hate-read an actual book, until this one. Gaitskill is perhaps best known for her short story Secretarywhich is featured in this collection – and was made into a movie starring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenahaal.

I realized that the same two stories kept repeating themselves interchangeably. You get the idea. The stories were dull, trite, and meaningless. The image became tiny and unnaturally white, was surrounded by darkness, then faded like the picture on a turned off TV. Twenty-four years later, these themes fail to raise an eyebrow, although they did elicit many an eyerollleaving the stories feeling flat and meaningless.

Not even the shreds of gratification received from hate-reading could save this. These stories left me feeling empty and mean. I find the outside world too depressing. Any woman that shows up to read an excerpt from one of her books, braless, is dying for attention. But the difference is I was 19 years old when I would pull those cheap stunts.


My point is, although some women may be susceptible to stooping to such vulgar bids for attention, most have the sense to grow out of it. View all 34 comments.

My introduction to the fiction of Mary Gaitskill is Bad Behavior: Published inthese nine darkly wondrous stories rebelliously refuse to conform; several involve gaitskilk 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 wi My introduction to the fiction of Mary Gaitskill is Bad Behavior: 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. Joey’s routine with his girlfriend of eight years Diane is just that: The couple stays high on Dexedrine three and a half days a week and Diane can tell there’s another woman before there is another woman.

Joey spends days designing a special Valentine’s Day card for Daisy, handing it to her a week after the holiday. 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.

Beth is far too strong-willed and opinionated to function as the masochist she’s billed herself as, while his dominant tendencies to insult or hurt her only seem to annoy and bore her. 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. He lies for no reason, telling the girl that he’s a corporate lawyer, regretting it when he later learns that she’s an animal lover. She finds Fred gentler and nicer than most of her clients and when he bwhavior 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. It was the first time that Susan had ever really heard Leisha’s voice–the quick, low-pitched voice affected by a certain type of teenage sex star in the fifties and picked up again by bouffant-haired singers in the seventies, only in Leisha it had an intelligent edge that was not ironic but somehow plain and comforting, as if, honey, she’d been there and back, and bbehavior knew how important it was just to sit and have a drink and a good talk–which now seemed like a ridiculous affectation in a twenty-one-year-old college student.

Susan realized that almost anything you talked about with this girl would seem important. And it appeared that Leisha was having a gaitskikl reaction to her. It was, as Leisha said later, the time they fell in love. She begins gaitzkill odd relationship with galtskill of her clients, a lawyer named Bernard, who under any other circumstance might be a man she’d date. 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.

BAD BEHAVIOR: Stories by Mary Gaitskill | Kirkus Reviews

The nest now empty and her surviving children grown, Virginia’s memory is drawn back to the months her fifteen-year-old niece Lily moved in, the bond that developed between them and was broken. Virginia has to gaitslill that from any other person’s perspective, her life has been pretty good. Lily’s presence in Virginia’s life began as a series of late-night phone calls and wild letters from Anne.

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. Our friends will make a circle around us and chant. I’ll be wearing a gown of raw silk with a light veil. And we’ll have a feast. The stories in Bad Behavior often hinge on This Is Your Life moments on the streets of New York–the only city in North America where you can conceivably run into someone you dated or went to college with–but Mary Gaitskill isn’t so interested in how relationships can fill a person with something new, but what they can take away or leave in their wake.

Her stories are filled with ghosts, deviant thoughts, personal humiliations, gaitsklll monkey shaking the inner tree of her characters that refuses to shut up. As gairskill complete as most of these stories feel, I was exhilarated reading them, with Trying To Be my favorite. Of gaitskilp, 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 wasn’t a directionless girl adrift in a monstrous city, wandering from one confounding social situation to the next, having stupid affairs.