David's Reviews > Bad Behavior: Stories

Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
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bookshelves: read-in-2010

I find myself landing squarely on the fence for this collection - there were three stories I really admired ("Daisy's Valentine", "Secretary", and "Heaven"), a couple I actively disliked ("Something Nice", "An Affair, Edited"), the others left me largely unmoved. This was primarily due to the general anomie and lack of affect that hangs over so many of Gaitskill's characters like a toxic miasma. It's not that people like this don't exist - the combination of narcissism and ennui that Gaitskill presents is actually quite convincing. But you wouldn't choose to spend time with them in real life, and reading about them wasn't all that much fun either.

I cannot agree with the charge that Gaitskill is a bad writer, however (as suggested by a certain reader from Nottingham: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...). Not that the particular passage Paul singles out isn't bad; I just don't think that it's representative. Even in the stories that I didn't particularly like, Gaitskill's writing seemed quite impressive. (This worries me a bit, because Paul is usually right on the mark. Just not in this case).

Three stars. Even though I disliked some of the stories, the collection definitely makes me want to read Gaitskill's subsequent work.
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Reading Progress

January 21, 2010 – Started Reading
January 21, 2010 – Shelved
January 21, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Jessica you're right, some stories of hers are real stand outs.
Her latest novel (Veronica) was a mess.

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