Friday, April 24, 2009

Mirrorball by Mary Gaitskill

I'm sure Mary Gaitskill needs no introduction, so I'll just share a couple of paragraphs and a link to her featured short story, Mirrorball, at Pantheon Books. This is one of those stories that just has to be experienced. I don't think understanding is the point.

"He took her soul—though, being a secular-minded person, he didn’t think of it that way. He didn’t take the whole thing; that would not have been possible. But he got such a significant piece that it felt as if her entire soul were gone. As soon as he had it, he not only forgot that he’d taken it; he forgot he’d ever known about it. This was not the first time, either.

He was a musician, well regarded in his hometown and little known anywhere else. This fact sometimes gnawed at him and yet was sometimes a secret relief; he had seen musicians get sucked up by fame and it was like watching a frog get stuffed into a bottle, staring out with its face, its splayed legs, its private beating throat distorted and revealed against the glass. Fame, of course, was bigger and more fun than a bottle, but still, once you were behind the glass and blown up huge for all to see, there you were. It would suddenly be harder to sit and drink in the anonymous little haunts where songs were still alive and moving in the murky darkness, where a girl might still look at him and wonder who he was. And he might wonder about her."

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