Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

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This collection begs for a slow, serious reading. Sure, some themes and scenes and gestures repeat. Maybe a handful of the stories could have been left out, but there’s too much richness to let that nettle.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

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.

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.
 

About Roxane Gay

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Roxane Gay's writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy culture blog, and many others including her Tumblr, roxanegay.tumblr.com. She is the co-editor of PANK and essays editor for The Rumpus. She teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University. She tweets at @rgay.
 
Published January 3, 2017 by Grove Press. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Difficult Women
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 19 2016

Not every story works, but Gay is an admirable risk-taker in her exploration of women’s lives and new ways to tell their stories.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 23 2017

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.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Josh Cook on Dec 30 2016

This collection begs for a slow, serious reading. Sure, some themes and scenes and gestures repeat. Maybe a handful of the stories could have been left out, but there’s too much richness to let that nettle.

Read Full Review of Difficult Women | See more reviews from Star Tribune

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Gemma Sieff on Jan 03 2017

Gay has fun with these ladies. Her narrative games aren’t rulesy. She plays with structure and pacing, breaking up some stories with internal chapterlets...The dialogue in “Difficult Women” occasionally falters, tending toward telegraphic language that broadcasts too tidily a character’s interiority.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Ashley Csanady on Jan 16 2017

Difficult Women is a book that’s simultaneously engrossing, jarring and creatively inspiring. It solidifies Gay’s place as one of the voices of our age.

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Reader Rating for Difficult Women
80%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 39 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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