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Don't Cry (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – March 9, 2010
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Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Here we have the new collection of short stories: College Town 1980, Folk Song, A Dream of Men, The Agonized Face, Mirror Ball, Today I'm Yours, The Little Boy, The Arms and Legs of the Lake, Description, and Don't Cry.
The ones that stood out for me included "College Town 1980" where the college town is Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the people there look to find meaning where they can. (And decide that Ann Landers is correct.) Also, the title story, in which a recent widow joins her friend who is trying to adopt a child in Ethiopia and is nearly overwhelmed by her guilt from infidelity. Many of the characters find themselves in bleak emotional waters, adrift, and find the oddest sorts of floats to support themselves, and perhaps even bring job.
On the other hand, the contrived Iraq War tale in "The Arms and Legs of the Lakes" brings the writing seminar sort of mix of humanity onto a train.Read more ›
It is probably even more trying on the writer. Here is Gaitskill, marching on through the jungle, making her own way, with no one before her or beside her. No wonder both she and her characters always seem lost and despairing. Critics aren't an awful lot of help to her; they lazily slot her as wilfully perverse, when all she does is paint what she sees. If she positioned herself as a memoirist or social critic or writer of romantic fiction, she'd have an easier time of it.
Most of the stories here struck me as unfinished and confused in their direction. One exception, "The Arms and Legs of the Lake," is a near-perfect gem, but even so, it is experimental in technique and difficult to read simply as a short story. Basically, eight or ten characters are introduced and interact in the course of a train journey. None of them are given any description by the narrator; all exposition is given from the various characters' points of view. There is a central character with the appropriately anonymous name of Jim Smith, and we quickly learn he is a recent Iraq veteran. Most readers will immediately form a mental image of him, an image that will become more and more wrong as the story progresses. He is a slight black man on the verge of middle-age, perhaps a little crazy, perhaps feebleminded. The other characters project upon him their admiration or pity or contempt, and then make biased and critical judgments of each other.Read more ›
Don't Cry is her first collection of short stories in ten years. The best stories are quite good but overall the collection is uneven. "College Town 1980" is exceptional. It is difficult to describe except to say that Gaitskill paints a young woman's failed relations and personal problems but reveals the steely resolve that underlies her unhappiness. "Folk Song" is an extended reflection on two extreme incidents: the television interview of a convicted serial murderer and the announcement by a woman that she is going to break the world record for consecutive sex acts by having sex with a thousand men in a row. "Today I'm Yours" describes the obsession of a married woman with an on again off again lesbian lover. In "Don't Cry," a widow (her husband died of Alzheimer's) accompanies a friend to Somalia to adopt a child and mourns an act of infidelity. Equally striking but somehow artificial -it reads at moments like a creative writing workshop exercise--is "The Agonized Face": a woman attends a literary festival as a stringer for a little magazine and observes the writers on display there. From there on, the quality drops. "The Arms and Legs of the Lake," which intertwines the inner thoughts of three men riding on a train, two of them veterans of the Iraq war and the third a veteran of WWII, is the least successful story in the collection.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I picked up Mary Gaitskill's "Don't Cry" after a fiction writing instructor (at a continuing ed course I took) told me that my writing was reminding him of her style, which... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Cassandra144
I'm a fan of Mary Gaitskill's novels, but this collection of stories disappointed me. While some of the stories are pretty good, there are also some real duds in this collection,... Read morePublished on April 16, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I read somewhere that this was a book of stories about disaffected people. It's true, it is. The people in this book have problems and sometimes you want to scream at them,... Read morePublished on March 11, 2013 by V. Irene Vega
Each story is a poignant little self-contained gem. Gaitskill puts her pen to the pulse of what makes people tick. (how's that for a metaphor? Read morePublished on December 20, 2012 by janiajania
As my work hours grew longer and I did more business travel, I switched from reading novels to short stories every night. Read morePublished on October 21, 2011 by Amazon Customer
Mary Gaitskill is a talented writer, and these stories carry surprising revelations at every turn. She is attuned to the details of the way woman think of themselves, how we... Read morePublished on September 25, 2011 by Annie
Mary Gaitskill invariably lifts the facades and personas of everyday life to present the human condition with raw power. Read morePublished on August 18, 2011 by reader sam
From the powerful pen of Mary Gaitskill comes DON'T CRY, her first collection of short stories in more than a decade. Read morePublished on June 9, 2010 by Amazon Customer
I've really enjoyed Mary Gaitskill's other work. The perspectives in Don't Cry, however, are much too negative for me. Read morePublished on June 1, 2010 by Annaconda