“They stood in the house where they had grown up filled with broken people and broken things.”
What a raw collection of gorgeously written stories. These are not people living safe, entitled, carefree lives. From the first story, which gutted me to the core, I Will Follow You, the reader is shut in a dark, suffocating place and empathizes with the sisters. Gay’s women are bad ass whether the brutality of men and the world made them that way or it is in their genes. They are raw in their honesty, and it isn’t pretty but what’s so great about ‘pretty’ anyway? Label them as you will, loose, cheap, tacky, weak… women have heard it all before. Life for some is brutal, others ‘unremarkable’, the push and pull of fearing becoming like their mother and yet knowing they already are. This is the world we women live in, and if you aren’t pleasing, if you have fire in you then you are a ‘difficult woman.’ Some of their relationships are like a terrible cliché, but every story is honest. There are lovers, liars, abusers… like she writes “There was once a man. There is always some man.”
Difficult Women are the short stories that rock you, and the characters remain with you as much as they do in full novels. I am telling every woman I know, this is a hell of a collection and you need to read it. Roxane Gay writes with whiplash intensity, I found myself touched and disturbed. Scars, wounds, hunger, need… Perfection.
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Grove Atlantic, Grove Press