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This Is Pleasure
Mary Gaitskill
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This Is Pleasure

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  602 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Starting with 'Bad Behavior' in the 1980s, Mary Gaitskill has been writing about gender relations with searing, even prophetic honesty. In 'This Is Pleasure', she considers our present moment through the lens of a particular #MeToo incident.

The effervescent, well-dressed Quin, a successful book editor and fixture on the New York arts scene, has been accused of repeated,
Published by The New Yorker (first published November 5th 2019)
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Nov 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is trying so hard to be provocative, to be like, "There's two sides to the Me Too debate though, isn't there?" Not really, man. If you accept the argument that "women can just say no" (as if, in real life--and unlike in this book--there aren't consequences for that) then it should follow that you can accept the idea that MEN CAN JUST NOT DO THAT SHIT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Eric Anderson
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the past few years it’s been inspiring seeing how the momentum of the Me Too movement has raised people’s awareness about sexual harassment and sexual assault as well as instigate a lot of discussion about what’s acceptable behaviour (especially in circumstances where power and influence are at play.) So it’s really interesting how Mary Gaitskill has written a novella about the blurry lines between friendship, flirtation and inappropriate conduct. “This is Pleasure” has a dual narrative ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Gaitskill wanted to explore the ambiguities of #MeToo, so she did it in this short story narrated by a flirtatious, charming, creepy man in the publishing industry and by his friend, a woman, who maybe kind of enabled his creepiness. It's good. It shows the humanity of people who are on the wrong side of this issue without exonerating them.
Woody Chichester
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was so complex for such a short story. I have read reviews saying Gaitskill was trying to show both sides of the story in a "#metoo" tale. Maybe she was, but that's not what I got at all. I think she's showing a creep as a creep- fully fleshed out, And a friend of the creep who is trying to reason out with the reader and herself why she is friends with the creep. Why she just doesn't write him off. Why does she put up with his microagressions and inappropriate behavior? Why do some women ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ew
Another belated review...

Mary Gaitskill does not shy away from difficult topics. This Is Pleasure is no exception. In this novella, Gaitskill deals pointedly with accusations of sexual harassment and accusations. The story focuses on Quinn, who no doubt has acted in ways that make women uncomfortable. But through Quinn’s friend Margot, Gaitskill explores whether he deserves the vehement treatment he is receiving. Short, pointed and thought provoking. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an
Leo Robertson
Creepy, yet dull.
Lorri Steinbacher
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This would be perfect for a book discussion group because it is perfectly, perfectly ambiguous. You know what you want to think and once you start reading you can't decide if you should be mad or what you should be mad about.

Nuance. Something that a lot of writing and discourse is missing. You'll find it here.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nop. Not possible to write something "nuanced" about inappropriate male behaviour in the work place. Even if very well written. This won't work for me.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Gaitskill’s This is Pleasure is a short story that first appeared in The New Yorker. The story is an attempt to investigate the finer nuances of the #MeToo movement, which the author believes has been painted with a broad brush of generalizations. Subsequently, the story was published in book format considering its relevance and timeliness.

The story, which has quite an unsettling title, brings to fore the perspectives of Quin and Margot, two renowned book editors in the publishing industry.
Rachel Slocombe
Women are like horses. They want to be led. They want to be led, but they also want to be respected. You have to earn it, every time. And they are strong as fuck. If you don't respect them, they will throw you off and prance around the paddock while you lie there bleeding. That's what I think.
This Is Pleasure is a short novella which I read in a few hours. The chapters alternate between Margot and her friend Quin who has been accused of sexual harassment in a #metoo scandal. Both discuss his
Sian Lile-Pastore
This is an uncomfortable read.
I read this as it was the characters thoughts rather than the writers thoughts - so while the character is pretty much defending a creepy guy who has sexually harrassed and abused young women it doesn't mean Mary Gaitskill feels the same (I hope). But I loved that sense of unease and it's unnerving qualities. I mean there's great writing here too of course.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before books came to my life, I have always held a black and white concept about everything in and around my life. It was literature which paved way for a more inclusive and complex standpoint. When Vanya reviewed "This Is Pleasure" by Mary Gaitskill, I knew I had to read this short story (or a novella, maybe?). I knew I had to read this most certainly because of how it complicated my sentiments pertaining to women's safety (or the lack of it) in work environment.

"This Is Pleasure" by Mary
I really liked how the author tackled & explored the main themes, presenting us with flawed characters instead of mere puppets.
The task of presenting a story that was related with the #metoo movement, while also making the male character speaks for himself, was not easy at all. The dual narration was really interesting - there were a lot of moments where I could understand both sides of the problem & I think that tells a lot about Gaitskill's abilities to tell a story.

My first Gaitskill
Dec 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very good writing but a terrible message - there is absolutely no ambiguity in this book whatsoever, it is merely an account of a morally corrupt man being made to account for his actions. I can’t imagine why any reader would feel sympathetic towards this character and his endless stream of vile behaviour.
Robert Wechsler
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-lit
A fresh, complex approach to #MeToo that gives the reader two views of a man whose relationships with women (including those who work with and for him) are unusual and sometimes involve sex, but conversation about things sexual (not between them) rather than sexual contact. What makes this work is his singularity and the alternation of his voice with the voice of a woman friend, who explains and defends him while finding some of his shenanigans disgusting. A 3.5.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Exploring ambiguity in the #MeToo movement through the eyes of a creepy dude in publishing and a female friend who largely enabled or excused his behaviour. It was fine? Short story/novella, relatively quick read, didn't really feel too strongly in any direction.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some good elements here and the back and forth viewpoints is cool but this still feels like what you'd call "lesser Gaitskill."
Katie Khan
Thought provoking.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Whew. I had no idea what to expect from ‘This is Pleasure’. I’ve never read anything from Gaitskill and quite honestly had no idea what the novella was about when I picked it up. Honestly, I was kind of blind sided by ‘This is Pleasure’. I realised pretty quickly that the entire thing was attempting to be a commentary on the modern #MeToo movement, and the issues that the author obviously has with it. It tells the story of Quin, who has been accused by several women within the publishing ...more
 Barb Bailey
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, fiction, novella
This book is based on the ME Too Movement. The story is told by two different people. The woman is married but has a long term friendship with a man who is in publishing .The man is charged with sexual harassment by many of his co workers and women he came in contact with through work or other friends. Strangely the woman supports him for along time until she can no longer . The mans wife is angry and hurt but wants to desperately hold the family together. The man who is a creep, tries to ...more
I'm on the fence with this one.

The easy meaning, the low hanging fruit, is that "shitty media men" have nuance, they aren't wholly bad. The bad man in this story feels hopeful at the end, feels the city is opening to his influence again, has his wife and closest friends backing him. He comes out basically emotionally unscatched.

The second POV points to something more interesting, forget the bad man's supposed nuance. You can see his friend is in denial, any negative feelings towards the bad
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Good, but so short that it barely happens.
Kent Winward
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The short story that everyone in the "Me Too" movement should read -- and that probably could have only been written by Gaitskill. Literature is what gives nuance. God bless literature.
Veronica Ciastko
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
people are grumpy about this book & they’re wrong. this book really shocked me in how well it articulated the complicated dynamics between men & women, and all
the complication of sex. i was riveted by this book!!!
Chris Haak
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story on #metoo, showing that things aren't always as clear-cut as they may seem to be, but instead confuse us and make us think.
Jess Newbury
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I finished this book I couldn't figure out my feelings on it. A week later, I still can't other than an overwhelming sense of "ick".

This is a story around a man (Quin) in a powerful position who is accused in the me too movement. It covers his perspective as well as the perspective of his female best friend (Margot) as the stories of his unwelcome behaviour come to light. It starts off light and a little fun but but I felt a rapidly growing sense of unease as I turned each page and found
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judging from the comments of many goodreads reviewers, this book really pisses people off. It’s a novella (less than 100 pages) that began life as a story published in The New Yorker. It’s a nuanced (fictional) account of a #MeToo incident, and most of the reviews I read that express disgust do so because the man in question must be a creep by definition and it is not permissible to consider events from his perspective. He must be a villain and only a villain.

Gaitskill has been writing about
I don't know, I keep reading these books about giving us a more "provocative" and "humanizing" point of view of the #MeToo movement that leave me so unsatisfied, like the authors have missed the whole point. I didn't particularly like Cat Person, from a stylistic point of view, but I did enjoy it because for the first time I was reading something that complicated the picture in a way that revealed a truth that many women have experienced: that assault is not always easy to pinpoint or talk about ...more
Tan Clare
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found myself relating this novella from both personal experience as well as that observed happening to others. This isn't just merely a simplistic message of "There's two sides to the #MeToo issue", but actually a call to action in ensuring that change does not merely just take the easy course of reversing the roles victim and perpetrator, while allowing the binary system to persist.
I know some readers are offended by the notion that it is their duty to openly defend themselves when being
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Mary Gaitskill is an American author of essays, short stories and novels. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories (1993 and 2006), and The O. Henry Prize Stories (1998). She married writer Peter Trachtenberg in 2001. As of 2005, she lived in New York City; Gaitskill has previously lived in Toronto, San Francisco, and Marin County, CA, as ...more