Difficult Women

Difficult Women

Book - 2017
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"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"--
Publisher: New York, New York : Grove Press, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780802125392
Characteristics: viii, 260 pages ;,22 cm.

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t
tobyfear
Dec 28, 2019

Didn't love - book of short stories

l
lukasevansherman
Nov 24, 2019

Though best known for her collection of essays "Bad Feminist," Roxane Gay has also written a novel, a memoir, and short stories. "Difficult Women" is her second collection of stories. There is a lot of unhappiness in these stories. And a lot of sex. Alternate title: "Very Bad Men."

m
Martha C Benner
Nov 03, 2019

Not my kind of book I guess; found it boring and weird as Hell.

STPL_JessH Sep 11, 2019

I loved the stories in Difficult Women! I want to write a review of each tale but I feel like that would be excessive. I find Roxane Gay's writing astounding. She is at once poetic and harsh. She writes in styles both sloppy and refined depending on how a character demands their story be told. Gay takes us right to the very precipice of what we can handle, then she pulls back. Then she takes us a bit further, and pulls back.

Gay has found the balance between creativity and recording the simple and tragic details of her characters. Gay writes pain in a way I can barely fathom. There is no other author I admire more.

This was my first time reading Roxane Gay and it won't be the last. If you enjoy reading stories about complex, defiant women, please, please read this book.

d
deborahbates
Jul 16, 2019

This collection of short stories is amazing. Each convey a deeper message be it dark or encouraging. The variety in writing styles, characters and even genres made it easy to keep reading them one after the other despite being by the same author. Beautiful. Highly recommend.

a
abcDena
Apr 29, 2018

I'm starting to have NO WORDS for almost every bad book I read. This is passable for most audiences? I just commented to a friend who didn't enjoy this collection that Roxanne Gay has managed to take dark, disturbing subject matter, made it exponentially more repulsive, but BORING at the same time. How? With the flattest, dullest writing this side of a bottle of Tylenol. So you're trapped in this book, reading about the ongoing rape of two children, but the writing isn't even good enough to justify the horrible feelings you experience reading it. If you value your time, pass on Difficult Women.

b
breemu
Dec 17, 2017

From the title, I thought this might be about strong (and not so strong) women trying to make it in the world of men on their own terms and with as little injury and trespass to their bodies and souls as possible (hence being labelled "difficult women" for not being compliant), but it is, rather, about women with serious mental health/self esteem issues who purposely choose to be abused and neglected. The stories are not told in a way that elucidates such things, or invokes compassion, but more as a lurid show-and-tell of just how perverse the author dare go. It began to feel more and more contrived and hollow with each story, and exceedingly dreary. I soon reached a point where I could no longer stand to be so pointlessly and repeatedly battered - unlike many of the characters - and stopped reading.

k
KMJ_
Nov 13, 2017

This book is just story after story about victimized women. I had only read Roxane Gay’s non-fiction before this, and I much prefer that. The honesty and wit she shows in her essays aren’t always present in these short stories. There were some standout stories here, but other stories start to blur together or are too fantastical.

mawls Sep 22, 2017

A collection of beautiful dark stories with enticing and vivid characters.

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IndyPL_ShainaS Aug 07, 2019

Many nights, after his mother fell asleep alone, her eyes wet, Joshua would steal over to her house. We sat on the sloping roof and stared at the moon, which, in the absence of the sun, swelled into a fragile beauty from which it was difficult to look away. We often saw people in the houses on either side of us doing the same thing, sitting on their roofs, their faces beaming upward. It was so very nice to see moonlight, and how we could see beneath its glow the memories of who we used to be. Somehow, staring at the moon made the days less dark, less cold.

IndyPL_ShainaS Aug 07, 2019

She tries to walk not too fast and not too slow. She doesn’t want to attract any attention. She pretends she doesn’t hear the whistles and catcalls and lewd comments.
Sometimes she forgets and leaves her house in a skirt or a tank top because it’s a warm day and she wants to feel warm air on her bare skin.
Before long, she remembers. She keeps her keys in her hand, three of them held between her fingers, like a dull claw. She
makes eye contact only when necessary and if a man should catch her eye, she juts her chin forward, makes sure the line of her jaw is strong. When she leaves work or the barlate, she calls a car service and when the car pulls up to her building, she quickly scans the street to make sure it’s safe to walk the short distance from the curb to the door.
She once told a boyfriend about these considerations and he said, 'You are completely out of your mind.' She told a new friend at work and she said, 'Honey, you’re not crazy. You’re a woman.'

IndyPL_ShainaS Aug 07, 2019

She was smart enough to want more, but tired enough to accept the way things were.

IndyPL_ShainaS Aug 07, 2019

I have moved to the edge of the world for two years. If I am not careful, I will fall.

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