Admission and $10 off at our bookstore
18 in stock
Thursday, 7:00 pm November 21, 2019
Actor Ron Rifkin will perform excerpts from Mary Gaitskill’s novella This Is Pleasure before Gaitskill and a moderator engage in a conversation on what fiction can do that an essay cannot when it comes to addressing the #MeToo era. Are some of the accused being punished beyond the scope of their (mis)behavior? In This Is Pleasure, Gaitskill attempts to bring both empathy and nuance to these questions and more through the story of a friendship made complicated by accusations of sexual harassment.
Mary Gaitskill, whose most recent book is Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays, is the author of the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To, and Don’t Cry, and of the novels The Mare, Veronica, and Two Girls, Fat and Thin. She lives in New York City.
Ron Rifkin is best known to television audiences for his performance on the hit series Alias and Brothers and Sisters. An Emmy nominated actor, he is also widely recognized for his work on New Amsterdam, Limitless, and E.R., among many other television appearances. His film work encompasses a broad range of movies including the recent A Star is Born, The Sum of All Fears, L.A. Confidential, JFK, The Negotiator, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Husbands and Wives, and The Substance of Fire, in which he recreated his award-winning stage performance. Rifkin received the Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway revival of Cabaret.
This is Pleasure
By Mary Gaitskill
Starting with Bad Behavior in the 1980s, Mary Gaitskill has been writing about gender relations with searing, even prophetic honesty. In This Is Pleasure, she considers our present moment through the lens of a particular #MeToo incident.
The effervescent, well-dressed Quin, a successful book editor and fixture on the New York arts scene, has been accused of repeated unforgivable transgressions toward women in his orbit. But are they unforgivable? And who has the right to forgive him? To Quin’s friend Margot, the wrongdoing is less clear. Alternating Quin’s and Margot’s voices and perspectives, Gaitskill creates a nuanced tragicomedy, one that reveals her characters as whole persons—hurtful and hurting, infuriating and touching, and always deeply recognizable.
Gaitskill has said that fiction is the only way that she could approach this subject because it is too emotionally faceted to treat in the more rational essay form. Her compliment to her characters—and to her readers—is that they are unvarnished and real. Her belief in our ability to understand them, even when we don’t always admire them, is a gesture of humanity from one of our greatest contemporary writers.
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