Demons especially enjoy metaphors
“She tried to retrace her route back home, but she took a wrong turn and suddenly realized that she didn’t have the bag of treasure. Where had it gone? She had not dropped it! She was about to go back and look for it when she saw a naked old woman walking towards her carrying something horrible and glowing. Ginger didn’t know why something that glowed should seem horrible, only that it did. As if she could hear her, the old woman said, ‘I carry love wrapped in pain. That is my treasure and soon it will be yours.’”
– From “The Devil’s Treasure” by Mary Gaitskill
Editor’s Note — Andy Hunter, Founding Editor of Electric Literature and Publisher of Recommended Reading:
Readers of serious contemporary fiction are more likely to encounter protagonists suffering from emotional detachment than stricken by passion. It’s rare that a literary author writes of a soul as if it’s a thing, the devil as real, or of love as an unknowable force that manifests in us. Like Flannery O’Connor (my favorite dead author of short stories), Ms. Gaitskill has an unsparing intuition for people’s weaknesses and motives, and she creates exquisitely drawn characters living in a ragged world where things matter.
I once asked Mary for her thoughts on the state of the short story. “Bloodless,” was her reply. At the launch party for Recommended Reading, I vowed to drown our readers in a river of blood. To that end, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce “The Devil’s Treasure” by Mary Gaitskill.
About Recommended Reading:
Great authors inspire us. But what about the stories that inspire them? Recommended Reading, a magazine by Electric Literature, publishes one story a week, each chosen by today’s best authors or editors.
Check out Electric Literature’s original Single Sentence Animation for “The Devil’s Treasure”:
— Lucy Goss is an intern for Electric Literature. She majors in English at Cornell University. You can follow her here.