First published in the late 1990s and a bestseller at the time, this incisive collection of short stories explores connection and disconnection in families, between ex-lovers and friends. From a father reflecting on the daughter whose lesbianism he cannot accept, to two people who were once young together stumbling over the foundations of their past, inside are twelve portraits of heart-rending emotional intimacy and the delicacy of relationships. Because They Wanted To is a perfectly formed set of stories about alienation in modern times.
I really admire how Mary Gaitskill is willing to think about the problematic with complexity and humanity, and without taking sides or engaging in all the fashionable moral hectoring that passes for serious thought these days.
Gaitskill shares Edith Wharton's forensic awareness of what happens just beneath the surface of high-toned encounters in public places
Gaitskill's brand of brainy lyricism, of acid shot through with grace, is unlike anyone else's. And it constitutes some of the most incisive fiction writing around