by Mary Gaitskill
from the March 27, 2023 issue of The New Yorker
Mary Gaitskill continues to show her willingness to challenge even herself. In “Minority Report” she goes back and revisits her story “Secretary,” first published in 1988. Apparently, I learn from her interview with Deborah Treisman, Gaitskill first retells the story and then follows the main character from 1988 to 2023. Fascinating! And so I find myself first wanting to read “Secretary” so I can better see what she is up to in “Minority Report.”
But even just knowing what I know now, I love how she starts “Minority Report”:
I dream often of a man I knew more than thirty years ago. When I say “knew,” that is not accurate; I barely knew him at all. But my dreams of him are dreams of intimacy beyond what I usually mean by “knowing.” They are erotic dreams even when they are not about sex. That sounds romantic but it is not. The dreams are terrible and disgusting. Or they are banal. I cannot explain them. Even when they are affectionate and tender, the sweetness strikes a weak note amid the dominant noise and adds to my fading impression of a bewildered pain that must, for some reason, be accepted. Sometimes I go for as long as a year without having one of these dreams and I think they are gone. And then they start again.
I’m very excited to look at both. And I’d love to hear your thoughts as well! Please feel welcome to leave them below.
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