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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

Following her acclaimed novel, An Untamed State, Gay expands her writing prowess with this collection featuring colorful women protagonists. One woman relishes her relationship with her husband and his twin; another forges a friendship with her deceased father's mistress; a group of professional women participate in fight clubs. The stories also include complicated men, including the priest who engages in a torrid affair with a "wild woman" but does not feel bad about it. Gay is at her best when merging vivid yet straightforward language with stories that contain an element of folklore. "Water, All Its Weight," for example, uses the imagery of water to discuss the experiences of a young woman. Another highlight is the title story, which dissects the different thoughts and responses of some women; the subheads include "How a Mother Loves," "What Happens When a Crazy Woman Snaps," and "What a Loose Woman Sees in the Mirror." -VERDICT 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. [See Prepub Alert, 6/25/16.]-Ashanti White, Fayetteville, NC © Copyright 2016. 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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