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Difficult Women (Grove Atlantic)
An award-winning novelist, essayist, professor, editor, commentator, and acknowledged master of Twitter, Roxane Gay released her “powerful...commanding debut” (The New Yorker) novel, An Untamed State, and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist in the same year, taking the literary world by storm, but throughout her career, she has also produced an impressive body of short fiction. In Difficult Women, Gay has gathered 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 gives voice to a chorus of unforgettable women in a powerful and dazzling collection reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.
Praise for Difficult Women
“A powerful collection of short stories about difficult, troubled, headstrong, and unconventional women. . . . 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.”–Publishers Weekly
“Unified in theme—the struggles of women claiming independence for themselves—but wide-ranging in conception and form. . . . Gay is an admirable risk-taker in her exploration of women’s lives and new ways to tell their stories.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Gay tells intimate, deep, wry tales of jaggedly dimensional women. . . . Be they writer, scientist, or stripper, Gay’s women suffer grave abuses, mourn unfathomable losses, love hard, and work harder.”–Booklist
Roxane Gay is the author of the novel An Untamed State, which was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction; the essay collection Bad Feminist; and Ayiti, a multi-genre collection. She is at work on a memoir, Hunger, and a comic book in Marvel’s Black Panther series. Her writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, the New York Times, the Guardian, and many others. She is a recipient of the PEN Center USA Freedom to Write Award, among other honors. She splits her time between Indiana and Los Angeles. She can be found online at www.roxanegay.com and on Twitter @rgay.
Photo by Jay Grabiec