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Difficult women
2017
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
Fiction
Literary
Short story
Collection
Topics
Women's lives
Upper classes
Lower classes
Social classes
Poverty
Married women
Sisters
Loveless marriage
Abduction
Twins
Brothers
Prostitutes
Setting
Michigan - Midwest (U.S.)
Florida - South (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Experienced narrator Robin Miles is the ideal proxy for Gay's difficult women, many of whom are not so much difficult as living lives that have been made difficult, onerous, or tragic by others. Embodying various ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, Miles refreshes and adapts her rich voice with practiced ease from story to story. Some are complicated: identical twins who like to switch places in "The Mark of Cain"; a daughter who remembers her Saturday trips with her father "In the Event of My Father's Death." Others are horrific: a pair of preteen sisters enslaved for six weeks of sexual torture in "I Will Follow You"; the brutal gang rape of a young girl in "Strange Gods." Some resemble fairy tales-a waterlogged not-quite love story in "Water, All Its Weight-and some are numbingly tragic: the loss of a child by inciting violence in "Break All the Way Down"; silently falling victim to white privilege in "La Negra Blanca." Unrelenting, unrepentant, unflinching, Gay won't disappoint. VERDICT The bonus of Miles's vocal prowess should convince libraries to invest in these electrifying Women without delay. ["Refreshing yet intricate, in the vein of Clarence Major's Chicago Heat and Other Stories, this work will appeal to lovers of literary and feminist fiction": LJ 12/16 starred review of the Grove hc.]-Terry Hong, -Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Gay (Bad Feminist) pens a powerful collection of short stories about difficult, troubled, headstrong, and unconventional women. "I Will Follow You" tracks the bond of two adult sisters who refuse to live in fear after being kidnapped and assaulted as young girls. In "The Mark of Cain," a wife pretends not to know that her abusive husband has swapped places with his kinder identical twin, who doesn't beat her. The darkly humorous title story outlines the traits of different types of "difficult women" in flash-style vignettes. A jilted woman recovering from delivering a stillborn child finds love far from her home and past in "North Country." And in "Break All the Way Down," a couple learns to overcome their guilt and grief over the death of their son when they are handed a new child by a mother who can't care for her. Whether focusing on assault survivors, single mothers, or women who drown their guilt in wine and bad boyfriends, Gay's fantastic collection is challenging, quirky, and memorable. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women , a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.<br> <br> The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.
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