Don't Cry

Author(s): Mary Gaitskill

Short Stories

Following the extraordinary success of her novel Veronica, Mary Gaitskill returns with a luminous new collection of stories--her first in more than ten years.

In 'College Town 1980', young people adrift in Ann Arbor debate the meaning of personal strength at the start of the Reagan era; in the urban fairy tale 'Mirrorball', a young man steals a girl's soul during a one-night stand; in 'The Little Boy', a woman haunted by the death of her former husband is finally able to grieve through a mysterious encounter with a needy child; and in 'The Arms and Legs of the Lake', the fallout of the Iraq war becomes disturbingly real for the disparate passengers on a train going up the Hudson--three veterans, a liberal editor, a soldier's uncle, and honeymooners on their way to Niagara Falls.

Each story delivers the powerful, original language, and the dramatic engagement of the intelligent mind with the craving body--or of the intelligent body with the craving mind--that is characteristic of Gaitskill's fiction. As intense as Bad Behavior, her first collection of stories, Don't Cry reflects the profound enrichment of life experience. As the stories unfold against the backdrop of American life over the last thirty years, they describe how our social conscience has evolved while basic human truths--the crude cinder blocks of male and female down in the basement, holding up the house, as one character puts it--remain unchanged. 


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A New York Times Notable Book

“A mindsearing, soul-rattling, gratitude-inducing collection.”—O, The Oprah Magazine

“Gaitskill writes with visceral power. . . . She commands her readers’ attention as few fiction writers can.”—Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review

“Masterful. . . . Past, present, future; heartbreak, desire, and loss—none of it is quite beyond her. Gaitskill’s prose glides lightly over unsoundable depths.”—The Village Voice

“Exquisite. . . . Gaitskill never stops at surfaces. . . . She believes—maybe reluctantly—in the absolute primacy of human connections, no matter what mess we tend to make of them.”—The Chicago Tribune

“Intense and thought-provoking, compelling and often tragic, yet filled with a subtle magic. . . . Gaitskill explores the spectrum of emotion: lust, greed, sorrow, hope, anger and many forms of love.”—Los Angeles Times

“Gaitskill is a fiercely emphatic writer—her concern always how close we can get to the pith of a protagonist or relationship—and Don’t Cry is wonderfully Machiavellian in its excavation of character.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Evocative yet efficient descriptions that remind you why you read in the first place. . . . Gaitskill never loses sight of her ambition to claim her readers’ hearts. . . . With unpretentious yet heartbreaking lines. . . . Gaitskill owns you, and earns the right to put you through the ringer of vulgarity.”—Newsweek

“Gaitskill’s short stories, with remarkably little prologue, routinely go far down and in deep. . . . She is, to be sure, one of the great living American fiction writers.”—The Buffalo News


“Gaitskill seems to have traveled through a lifetime of perception, moving in a progression from raw and violently sexualized to tender and regretful, with every character knowing the intimacy and exhaustion of sorrow.”—The Boston Globe

Mary Gaitskill is also the author of "Because They Wanted To" (nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award) and the novel "Two Girls, Fat and Thin." "Veronica" was nominated for the National Book Award. Gaitskill is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her work has appeared in" The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories," and" The O. Henry Prize Stories." She lives in New York.

General Fields

  • : 9780307275875
  • : Vintage Books USA
  • : Vintage Books USA
  • : March 2010
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Mary Gaitskill
  • : Paperback / softback
  • : 813.54
  • : 226