GOOD to see The New Yorker carry a story by Mary Gaitskill. Still, to me Gaitskill is a tale of unrealized potential; of the controlling influence of the corporation and the academy. Her stories, as excellent as they are, have always struck me as too controlled, like other literary stories, as if her art has been kept on a leash. Probably I was too influenced as a reader in the 90's by riot-grrrl zeens, which were full of literary "raw power" unlike any writing ever seen. They were crude affairs mostly, but captured the tough emotion of a Gaitskill and multiplied it by ten or twenty. Jen Gogglebox and Ammi Emergency are only two names I can recall from a score of great young women writers from that period; including the ULA's original "Zeen Elvis," who in pure explosive writing talent represented the fulfillment of what Mary Gaitskill hinted at. Talent that burned the page.
Gaitskill's story as a writer is a tragedy, in a way. Like a stray cat picked up from the streets; given shots, cleaned-up, and other things so to be properly domesticated. That's what I think of when I read her stories. "Look what we've done to her," the well-crafted writing says-- but I prefer the "before" kind of story; the fully uninhibited fully lusty and bloody voice of the streets.