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Cover of The Devil's Treasure

The Devil's Treasure

A bewitching collage of fiction, memoir, and mythography from the author unique in her “ability to evoke the hidden life, the life unseen, the life we don’t even know we are living.” (Parul Sehgal, New York Times Magazine)

Mary Gaitskill is unique among American novelists in “her ability to evoke the hidden life, the life unseen, the life we don’t even know we are living.”* In this searching biography of the writer’s imagination, Gaitskill excavates her own novels, revealing their origins and obsessions, the personal and societal pressures that formed them, and the life story hidden between their pages. Using the techniques of collage, The Devil's Treasure splices fiction together with commentary and personal history, and with the fairy tale that gives the book its title, about a little girl who ventures into Hell through a suburban cellar door.

The result is an answer to Gaitskill’s critics and, simultaneously, the best book we have about contemporary fiction, the forces ranged against it, and the forces that bring it into being.

“Even among other artists attracted to weakness as a theme, [Gaitskill] is rare in being able to look at it on its own terms. She doesn’t treat it like a curiosity, like Diane Arbus, or a chink in the armor that might let in faith, like Flannery O’Connor. She isn’t afraid of it, like Muriel Spark; nor does she insist its depictions rouse us to action, like Sontag. She looks—just looks—and sees everything.” —Parul Seghal, New York Times Magazine*