The women of Gay's short story collection are, unsurprisingly, difficult--at least by the standards of a culture that demands docility, modesty, and prettiness. To the rest of us, they're just uncompromisingly human: messy, angry, funny, self-possessed, unafraid to take up space. A fascinating, page-turning exploration of modern womanhood.
— Cathy Taylor
Gay’s collection of short stories about complicated and flawed women are engaging and raw. While I am not usually an avid reader of short stories (but avid Roxane Gay fan!) I found myself compelled by the individual stories of pain, triumph, and love and surprised by the overarching connections between the diverse women. Gay is a phenomenal writer and Difficult Women adds to her list of tremendous work.
— Rachel Williams
January 2017 Indie Next List
“A 'difficult woman' has become shorthand for one who speaks her mind, who questions patriarchal power, and who refuses to be defined by a standard of femininity. The women who populate Gay's story collection are all difficult in their own ways -- mothers, sisters, lovers, some married and some single, most of flesh and one of glass -- yet they are all searching for understanding, for identity, and for ways to make sense of a sometimes nonsensical, cruel world. Some of Gay's stories are graphic, some are allegorical, and all are important commentaries on what being female looks and feels like in modern America.”
— Bex Gilmer (W), Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR
A national bestseller from the "prolific and exceptionally insightful" (Globe and Mail) Roxane Gay, Difficult Women is a collection of stories of rare force that paints a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.Difficult Women tells 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 have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and, grown now, 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 scintillating collection reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Anne Enright, and Miranda July.
About the Author
Roxane Gay is the author of the novel An Untamed State; 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. She splits her time between Indiana and Los Angeles.