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Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Nov 2, 2022

Mary Gaitskill’s knack for writing about the social and physical world with unapologetic clarity has led to her style being described both as "cold and brutal” and “tender and compassionate.” Tyler considers her works The Mare, Veronica, and Lost Cat to be some of the best and most insightful American fiction in recent times. And lately she’s taken to writing essays on Substack, where she frankly analyzes “subjects that are vexing everybody,” including incels, Depp v. Heard, and political fiction.

She joined Tyler to discuss the reasons some people seem to choose to be unhappy, why she writes about oddballs, the fragility of personality, how she’s developed her natural knack for describing the physical world, why we’re better off just accepting that people are horrible, her advice for troubled teenagers, why she wouldn’t clone a lost cat, the benefits and drawbacks of writing online, what she’s learned from writing a Substack, what gets lost in Kubrick’s adaptation of Lolita, the not-so-subtle eroticism of Victorian novels, the ground rules for writing about other people, how creative writing programs are harming (some) writers, what she learned about men when working as a stripper, how her views of sexual permissiveness have changed since the ‘90s, how college students have changed over time, what she learned working at The Strand bookstore, and more.

Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links.

Recorded September 26th, 2022

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