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Episode 173: Spring Fling, Mary Gaitskill (“The Secretary”)


This week we’re starting a new seasonal feature: Spring Fling. We’ll be reading stories about romance, sex, lust, love, and other affairs of the heart. First up is Mary Gaitskill’s spare, understated story “The Secretary,” which some of you may know as the source material for the 2002 Maggie Gylenhaal / James Spader film. But while the film and story definitely share some DNA, the two are quite different, both in terms of plot and their main characters’ attitudes toward the dominant/submissive relationship they’ve stumbled into.

During Spring Fling we’ll also be bringing you stories of authorial romances and affairs. This week we’ve got some tales of H.G. Wells’s sexual adventurings. Plus an exploration of the science behind spring-time romance. And dating advice!

Strap yourselves in, listeners.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, by clicking the player below. Or download the mp3 file to play on whatever device you’d like. You can also find us in the iTunes store, which is probably the easiest option: download back episodes and subscribe (for free!) so you never miss another installment.

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Author: mikeingram25

writer, editor

2 thoughts on “Episode 173: Spring Fling, Mary Gaitskill (“The Secretary”)

  1. Re HG Wells travels through time having sex: there’s a current TV show about HG Wells traveling through time, Time After Time, based on a 1979 movie. I don’t think his sexual adventurousness is explored, and the show is pretty bad (supposedly the movie is fun), but there’s a romantic angle.

    Nitpicks, as long as I’m commenting: isn’t the Disney submarine ride based (loosely) on a Jules Verne novel?

    Easter and the egg/bunny: spring is rebirth, it fits together — everything goes from dead to springing into life again. Flowers, greenery, and the abundance of animal life exemplified by rabbits. Eggs, which hatch, are a further example of this, and it’s why some people give away baby chicks (not recommended: and of course that important Easter tradition, Peeps.

    The egg decorating thing also has a Russian/Orthodox background, and there’s supposedly some weird story about Mary Magdalene and the egg that goes along with that too:

    More than you wanted to know, I’m sure!

    • Ah, you’re right about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea–it’s a Jules Verne jam. I don’t know why, but I always get those two confused.

      I will definitely pass that egg link on to my friend, who was saying she thought Easter had the weirdest mix of “stuff” of any major Christian holiday.

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