Recently, I read a People magazine article about Roxane Gay, her life her writing, and a horrific tragedy that rocked her world at a very young age. It was the only People magazine feature that ever made me cry. Having already read Difficult Women, this tragedy was not only prevalent throughout this collection of short stories about women and their unique manifestations of profound suffering but was the central theme to one story in particular. I am so grateful to Roxane for her voice, her courage, and her refusal to be a quiet victim.
June 2017.Difficult Women.Roxane Gay
Title: Difficult Women
Author: Roxane Gay
Visceral, Raw, and Brimming with Emotion
This collection of short stories depicting the complexities of a woman’s mind and heart are written with a clear lens pointed towards their innermost thoughts. There are prevailing themes of brutal abuse, sex, love, and male dominance weaving their way in and out of these tales.
The evisceration of wild game sit in strange juxtaposition with the women whose lives have been gutted in some way by tragedy and exposed as fragile beings who are fighting to regain their foothold on a tenuous existence.
In I Will Follow You, two sisters refuse to leave each other’s sides after a harrowing ordeal of abuse and become a package deal when one of the sister’s marries. The Mark of Cain is about a young woman’s secret knowledge that the man she married likes to swap places with his identical twin brother. The ending is reflective of one of the most obvious consequences. Requiem for a Glass Heart is a fantasy piece about a stone thrower who falls in love with a woman made out of glass. Break All the Way Down illustrates a mother’s anguish after losing her only child to a violent and horrific accident. She seeks out pain and abuse as much for self-punishment as a way to stay tethered to the world while simultaneously refusing to accept love and forgiveness until a new child enters her life.
Broken and damaged women come forward to share their experiences and tell their stories. Endings with no real resolutions speaks to the imperativeness of protection and guardianship of self. The women in these stories have suffered, in many cases by the hands of cruel men. Who they become in the aftermath of their horrors were some of the most fascinating parts of their stories.
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