Virtual Event: Mary Gaitskill


The Devil's Treasure:
A Book of Stories and Dreams

in conversation with YIYUN LI


October 20, 2021
7:00 PM ET


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$41.00 (book included) - On Sale Now $5 suggested - pay what you can - On Sale Now

Harvard Book Store and Politics and Prose welcome MARY GAITSKILL—the celebrated author of Bad Behavior, Somebody with a Little Hammer, and This Is Pleasure—for a discussion of her latest book, The Devil's Treasure: A Book of Stories and Dreams. She will be joined in conversation by YIYUN LI, award-winning author of Where Reasons End and Must I Go.


There are two ticket options available for this event.

Admission Ticket - $41.00: Includes one admission link and one copy of The Devil's Treasure. U.S. shipping also included. Books will be shipped to ticket-holders following the event. Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.

Pay-What-You-Can Ticket: Includes one admission link. We suggest a $5 donation to support Harvard Book Store's staff and our virtual event series during these difficult times. Thank you for your support!


About The Devil's Treasure

“What is in the bag behind the Devil’s chair? Knowledge of some kind? Surely something a little girl did not know should be left alone. I’ve been criticized—and sometimes admired—for what some readers see as my affinity with cruelty, both in my depictions of it and my supposed infliction of it on characters.”

In The Devil’s Treasure―aptly subtitled A Book of Stories and Dreams—the iconic author Mary Gaitskill has created a chimerical hybrid of fiction, memoir, essay, criticism, and visual art that transcends categorization. This collage of four novels (one a work in progress), interspersed with and thematically linked by a single short story, then woven together with the author’s commentary, is a kind of director’s cut revealing the personal and societal forces that inform each individual piece of work, an ongoing, passionate exploration of core human emotions and experience, the ideally, sometimes quixotically high and grossly, confusedly low. With the stylistic daring and preternatural acuity that has made her one of America’s most original writers, Gaitskill has created a layered vision of modern life that simultaneously blends the huge prehistoric creatures that swim at the bottom of our collective ocean with a family that picnics on the beach while a podcast natters about politics and a perhaps dangerously curious child explores the lapping waves.

Praise for Mary Gaitskill

“About sex she is an especially distinctive writer. She catches cruelty and inexplicable desire, what she has called “the dirt within,” as well as any writer we have. Once you’ve read her, her little hammer continues to tap in your head.” —Dwight Garner, New York Times

“Gaitskill is something special. She doesn’t grandstand; she lacks self-pity. She has an intuitive sympathy for people acting on their worst impulses and a gift for portraying cruelty without condemnation. She manages to be an erotic writer without being, precisely, a sex writer.” —Emily Nussbaum, New York Magazine

“What is most amazing about Gaitskill is her ability to portray the heart of human longing and suffering, and to see in each gesture of our lives the disturbing and conflicting pool of drives that marks our every gesture.” —Sheila Heti, The Believer

Mary Gaitskill
Mary Gaitskill

Mary Gaitskill

Mary Gaitskill is the author of Bad Behavior, Two Girls, Fat and Thin, Because They Wanted To, Veronica, Don't Cry, The Mare, Somebody with a Little Hammer, and This Is Pleasure. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories.

Yiyun Li
Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li is the author of eight books, including her novel Where Reasons End, which received the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award; the essay collection Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life; and her recent, Tolstoy Together: 85 Days of War and Peace with Yiyun Li. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and Windham-Campbell Prize, among other honors. A contributing editor to A Public Space, she teaches at Princeton University.

Photo Credit: Opale

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Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" and "2021 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

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