Author Mary Gaitskill Goes All Ashley Dupre On Us

19 October 1988, Paris, France --- Mary Gaitskill Image by © Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis
19 October 1988, Paris, France — Mary Gaitskill Image by © Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis

In the videos below author Mary Gaitskill reads “The Astral Plane Nail and Waxing Salon” at the Franklin Park Reading Series in Crown Heights.  This fictional story about Ashley Dupre and Silda Wall, Elliot Spitzer’s tryst and wife respectively, originally appeared in New York Magazine last fall and deals – intensely – with the dichotomy of Eve and Lilith.  The tale features cameos by Elizabeth and John Edwards, Rielle Hunter, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.  It’s a long one – three parts – but we’re sure you’ll enjoy the ride. Here’s how it starts:

Dear Silda,

I hope you don’t mind my writing again after my maybe-somewhat-inappropriate letter of a year ago, in which I expanded on my feelings of remorse about your pain. I understand, I think, why you never answered, and I respect your decision not to. However, I’m hoping that in the same spirit, you can respect my need to reopen the channels of communication, at least on my end. I have been thinking about you a lot lately, and to me that’s an indication that you, on some level, are thinking about me too. I’d like to share with you some of the ways I’m trying to heal. That might sound weird, but I know you are an incredibly strong and intelligent and also compassionate woman. I have admired you so much, ever since I saw you on TV, and since then, I have read every article you have been in—in your stoical dignity you have become like a role model for me!

This live reading- complete with the author’s tone – is hilariously worth it, especially if your spoon got caught in a bucket of ice cream.

Mary Gaitskill’s most recent book is Don’t Cry. She is also the author of two other story collections, Because They Wanted To (nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award) and Bad Behavior. A story from Bad Behavior, “Secretary,” was the basis for the film of the same name. Her novels include Two Girls, Fat and Thin and Veronica, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and she was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

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