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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 on college campuses - but I read it and was enthralled by her trenchant criticism and insight and amazingly interesting sensibiility that left me thinking about consent and how girls are socialized and what it means to be an adult who takes responsibility, and my own life and the culture, too.
You’ve done other nonfiction writing, I’ve seen essays on the Biblical book of Revelation and on Vladimir Nabokov.
I associated him with my father very soon after picking him up, maybe because I had never been to Italy before and my father loved Italy, spoke Italian, and read it almost up to the time of his death. When you began, did you know you wanted to touch on your father and the children you had made a part of your life—or was it initially just about Gattino? What struck me—the thing that compelled me to write the essay was that I was very surprised by how profoundly upset I was.
Also, there was a certain comedy or strangeness in so many people who were willing to offer their opinions, who had an idea what happened to him.
Every single piece in this collection is like that: each made me think and disturbed or delighted me in different ways.
A lot of Gaitskill's literary and music criticism is included here, also a long personal essay first published in Granta about losing her cat - but it's about so many other things at the same time.