An Untamed State Summary
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Author: Roxane Gay
Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
Release Date: 2014-05-06
A Haitian American woman survives a brutal kidnapping in this “commanding debut novel” from the New York Times–bestselling author of Bad Feminist (The New Yorker). Author and essayist Roxane Gay is celebrated for her incisive commentary on identity and culture, as well as for her bestselling nonfiction and short story collections. Now, with An Untamed State, she delivers a “breathtaking debut novel” (The Guardian, UK) of wealth in the face of crushing poverty, and the lawless anger produced by corrupt governments. Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she lives in the United States with her adoring husband and infant son, returning every summer to stay on her father’s Port-au-Prince estate. But the fairy tale ends when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, just outside the estate walls. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As her father’s standoff with the kidnappers stretches out into days, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who despises everything she represents. An Untamed State is a “breathless, artful, disturbing and original” story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places (Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings).
Author: Roxane Gay
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Release Date: 2017-01-03
The New York Times–bestselling author of Bad Feminist shares a collection of stories about hardscrabble lives, passionate loves 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, Roxanne Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America with her “signature wry wit and piercing psychological depth” (Harper’s Bazaar).
Author: Roxane Gay
Publisher: Grove Press
Release Date: 2018-06-12
From the New York Times–bestselling author of Hunger and Bad Feminist, a powerful short story collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. Roxane Gay is an award-winning literary voice praised for her fearless and vivid prose, and her debut collection Ayiti exemplifies the raw talent that made her “one of the voices of our age” (National Post, Canada). Praise for Ayiti “Highly dimensioned characters and unforgettable moments. . . . Dismantling the glib misconceptions of her complex ancestral home, Gay cuts and thrills. Readers will find her powerful first book difficult to put down.” —Booklist “The themes explored in Gay’s nonfiction, such as the transactional nature of violence and the ways in which stereotypes of poverty add another layer of dehumanization, are just as potent here. Even her more lyrical mode is filtered through a keen sense of the lost promise of one country and the blinkered privilege of the other. It’s Gay’s unflinching directness—the sense that her characters are in the room with you, telling it like it is—that makes her irresistible.” —Vogue “A set of brief, tart stories mostly set amid the Haitian-American community and circling around themes of violation, abuse, and heartbreak . . . This book set the tone that still characterizes much of Gay’s writing: clean, unaffected, allowing the (often furious) emotions to rise naturally out of calm, declarative sentences. That gives her briefest stories a punch even when they come in at two pages or fewer, sketching out the challenges of assimilation in terms of accents, meals, or ‘What You Need to Know About a Haitian Woman’. . . . This debut amply contains the righteous energy that drives all her work.” —Kirkus Reviews