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Difficult Women

by Roxane Gay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1684416,676 (4.03)48
"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"--… (more)
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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Wonderful writing but most of the stories are pretty bleak. I loved "North Country", "Break All the Way Down", and "How". ( )
  imjustmea | Dec 23, 2023 |
I started this right before bed, thinking I'd read a story or two before sleeping. It was about 3:30 AM when I next looked at the clock. The stories were that good.

The stories in this collection were ugly and dark, but also beautifully written and completely compelling. They showed how healing can be a painful process.

While most of the stories were contemporary, there were a few that edged into magical realism, if not outright SF. The one alternate history of a US where the South had seceded after the election of (supposedly) President Obama hit home, given the current political climate. And the very science fiction story of a world in which a coal miner flew to the sun and snuffed it out in order to make himself feel whole was beautiful.

A gorgeous collection that made me want to read everything Gay's written. ( )
  wisemetis | Nov 12, 2023 |
Brilliant. Disturbing.

Short stories, many about women totally foreign to me. Yet, I kept reading because a few of them were like me in some ways, or like women I know. The details, settings, twists, conversations, and deep woundedness surprised me in dark and thrilling ways.

Favorites are the magical realism stories. Wow. ( )
  rebwaring | Aug 14, 2023 |
Just such compelling writing, always.
Roxane Gay is a dangerous writer. Can I say that? In a good way? ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
Difficult Women is a collection of beautifully written stories about the pain and anger hidden deep down inside screaming for release. Some of them are shocking, maybe even ugly. But they are very real. Completely & brutally honest. They are stripped bare & they are brave.
"a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection."
Roxane Gay's writing is phenomenal. The diverse cast of women in these stories come from places of privilege, poverty, and everything in between. They cover topics of violence, love, hate, sex, guilt, trauma, loss, motherhood, race, relationships, and abuse. Each story/woman is distinctly her own person and at the same time universally all of us.
As dark as this collection is, it is also full of strength, endurance, love, and even hope. ( )
  juliais_bookluvr | Mar 9, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roxane Gayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Miles, RobinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For difficult women, who should be celebrated for their very nature
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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"--

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