Difficult Women by Roxane GayDifficult Women by Roxane Gay

Difficult Women

byRoxane Gay

Hardcover | January 13, 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.
Roxane Gay is the author of the novel An Untamed State, which was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction; the essay collection Bad Feminist ; Ayiti, a multi-genre collection; and the memoir Hunger, forthcoming from Harper. She is at work on a memoir, Hunger, and a comic book in Marvel's Black Panther series. Her wri...
Title:Difficult WomenFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.99 inPublished:January 13, 2017Publisher:Grove/AtlanticLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802125395

ISBN - 13:9780802125392

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great collection really enjoyed these stories
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! I read this book for the first time when i was 15 and it really resonated with me. I still read it once every few years and it never gets old. I love Holden
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Wanted to like it....but couldn't I love the author since I discovered it....but I'm not a fan of this and returned it before I finished it. Essay collections are hit or miss for me and this sadly was a miss. Check out her other books though!
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh Was expecting some inspiring female characters, but didn't personally find any of them empowering
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Too bad J.D. Salinger died so young. He was so handsome and so talented! Love his writing style and innocence...
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow The first eight stories were subtle in their meaning, really made you think about what he was trying to say for a while. I can see why some people would walk away feeling like there was nothing to be gained from these stories. The last story though, Teddy, was the one that really affected me, and will stay with me forever. Left me sleepless for quite a few days. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional roller coaster So much sadness and violence, but also love. Each short story created a variety of emotional responses, but they were all well written and had a depth many writers will never reach.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring Didn't like this story or characters at all.
Date published: 2017-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing An fantastic collection of short stories. Moore did it again, once you read one you have to read the rest.
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not worth it Had high expectations but this book was not good...lots of sex, lots of sad women, but no difficult women. And nothing empowering!
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An amazing read Roxane Gay is a masterful writer and this book is full of lovely and heartbreak stories.
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Minor work but still worth the trip Nine Stories has all the undertones of that classic Salinger off-beat, retro stamp and it is often overshadowed by Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey despite being a small masterpiece in its own right, but I was apprehensive about picking up the short story collection all the same. It is rather silly to hold on to a writer's more established and acclaimed work and not venture out to slightly unchartered territory specially when this reader realized that it was not quite unchartered territory for her after all. Moreover, it feels strange to revisit Salinger's unique world not merely because his eclectic turns of phrases and marginalized characters make the reader yearn for the yesteryear and a world gone by, but it is also an odd contrast to modern literature and life. Salinger's oddball, somewhat hostile, and always beautifully vulnerable gang struggling in a pedantic and square world have an immense cultural significance. Indeed, the Rockwellian undertones of Salinger's pen feels slightly uncomfortable to today's discerning viewer. In this day and age, intimate friendships and conversations between precocious children and adult men are seen as unnatural if not immediate cause for alarm which is a poor, poor reflection of our society and its crumbling mores. Salinger understands and treats young adults with dignity and serious aplomb which is quite bittersweet and worth revisiting if only to reclaim our own displaced sense of wonder and childlike innocence.
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic Salinger These stories capture Salinger's writing in its most essential from. While they lack the scope and poignancy of The Catcher in the Rye, they discuss themes that will be familiar to any Salinger reader. Childhood, innocence, and the suffering that contrasts them all play prominent roles within this collection. Don't expect to be swept off you feet, but enjoy Salinger's unique perspective on the functions of ordinary life.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A work of art. This is a short book with a several short stories. Now for the magic: masterful use of language, exceptional understanding of structure, and a deft balance between expressing the voice of the author and telling the stories that surround us every day.
Date published: 2014-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome book These short stories were very interesting and I found them to capture my attention to the fullest.
Date published: 2004-06-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from 9 Big Yawns J.D. Salinger's 'Catcher In the Rye' made him famous - which is a good thing, because his short stories would have gotten him nowhere fast. The only remarkable thing about these nine tales is their utter lack of interest, both character and plotwise. Reading J.D. Salinger's short fiction generates about as much excitement and satisfaction as would the observation of sea barnacles. If you enjoy short stories, do yourself a favour: do not read this book.
Date published: 2004-02-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sweet Every bit as enjoyable as Catcher in the Rye. Shorter works with the same kind of impact. You want the stories to just go on. Them not to have an end. When reading anything Salinger has written I am filled with an unusual mixture of wonder, sadness, sweetness and honesty. Catcher is merely the sequel. This book is worth the read. Really. I'm not kidding.
Date published: 2000-09-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Bananafish! Although the stories are not up to the standard as "Catcher in The Rye", these stories should not remain overlooked. The first story expands on the life of Seymour Glass, using a different point of view. Also enjoyable was the story about a young genius. A lighter Salinger read.
Date published: 2000-06-06

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Difficult Women :The characters who inhabit Difficult Women . . . aren't just characters. They are our mothers, sisters and partners. They are human. They are us." - USA Today (4/4 stars)"Sharp, poignant and daring . . . The stories here are myriad, inviting comparisons to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie." - Houston Chronicle "There's a distinct echo of Angela Carter or Helen Oyeyemi at play; dark fables and twisted morality tales sit alongside the contemporary and the realistic . . . It feels like the book we have been waiting for Gay to write." - Los Angeles Times "Gay has fun with these ladies . . . With Difficult Women, you really have no idea what's going to happen next." - New York Times Book Review "Because Gay is such a vivid writer, her stories have a remarkable visual sweep . . . Gay writes of chances missed and unexpected joy, love gone awry or resurrected, and the slivers of hope that keep these fascinating women alive." - Boston Globe "The language is stark yet meaty; it lives with you the way memories do, in the deepest crevices of the body and mind . . . powerful." - Arizona Daily Sun "A master of the short story . . . A tribute not only to difficult women, but also to the circumstances that made them that way." - BUST Magazine "Like Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? or Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, this is fiction pressed through a sieve, leaving only the canniest truths behind . . . Addictive, moving and risk-taking." - San Francisco Chronicle "Roxane Gay, the acclaimed American essayist and novelist, charges from the gate in her debut collection of short fiction . . . These are the places I'm going to take you, Gay seems to be saying. Are you prepared? . . . Provocation operates on different levels in this collection. First on the level of theme - the presentation of female sexual desire, both masochistic and otherwise, is vigorous and forthright, the language refreshingly frank and graphic - then on the level of technique." - The Globe and Mail (Canada)"I'm currently reading Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay, and I'm getting my life from it . . . Roxane Gay seems to have a knack for fearlessly telling the truth. Even in her fiction." - Gabourey Sidibe, The New York Times Book Review ("By the Book")"Gay's signature dry wit and piercing psychological depth make every story mesmerizingly unusual and simply unforgettable." - Harper's Bazaar "In so many ways, Gay's Difficult Women feel simultaneously fictitious and like they could (and probably do) live right down the street. Perhaps they even live inside of our coworkers, our friends, our sisters and ourselves . . . Gay's writing is unparalleled." - Forbes " Difficult Women . . . deftly and terrifyingly underscores the absurdity of a society tacitly ordered by skin color and the privileges accrued by those who have ended up at the winning end, circled and watched by those who have not . . . Gay peels it all back, exposing the raw, the enraged and the perversely beautiful." - New Republic "Gay's work is as varied as women's experiences. Each story feels fresh and new, a blanket of snow you both want and don't want to muddy with a footprint. Difficult Women . . . solidifies Gay's place as one of the voices of our age." - National Post (Canada)"Gay excels in her allowance for human complexity . . . One of the book's greatest achievements is Gay's psychological acuity." - Washington Post "Writing that seems to cut to the bone . . . These stories of sisters and mothers and daughters and lovers are haunting, and their quiet voices linger . . . they draw you in." - The Seattle Times "The stories, phenomenally powerful and beautifully written, demonstrate the threats so many women in reality face, but also how, whatever their situation, they have agency, resilience and identities away from stereotypes created and reinforced by men." - The Guardian (UK)"Powerful, sometimes infuriating, often sad and always gentle . . . A wonderful and varied collection of stories, with a terrific range of subjects and emotions giving it just the right balance." - Toronto Star (Canada)"The women in Difficult Women are all deliciously complex, and their relationships are just as multifaceted." - Baltimore City Paper "Gay brings the powerful voice that flows through her work as a novelist and cultural critic to [these] 21 short stories . . . Gay's 'difficult women' are unforgettable." - BBC.com "Her pitch-perfect insights to these female archetypes are so Gay - candid, observant, concise, stirring." - Ms. Magazine "Gay is at her best when merging vivid yet straightforward language with stories that contain an element of folklore . . . Refreshing yet intricate, in the vein of Clarence Major's Chicago Heat and Other Stories ." - Library Journal (starred review)"Unequivocally excellent . . . roughly urgent and skillfully timeless . . . Gay's voice is lyrical throughout, mesmeric and unflinching. This collection shocks, despairs and triumphs." - Bookreporter "The emotional and interior lives of her difficult women are authentic and affecting." - The Spinoff (New Zealand)"This collection begs for a slow, serious reading." - Minneapolis Star Tribune "The titular subjects in the literary star's short-story collection are strippers and engineers, participating in fight clubs and elite suburban dramas. Each one is compelling, thanks to Gay's illuminating prose." - Entertainment Weekly "A collection of short stories that will make your spine tingle with intrigue." - Bustle.com "Intimate and powerful . . . an unforgettable story of modern American womanhood. A compelling collection that will stick with you long after you finish the last page." - Bustle.com "Women's lives have been Gay's most consistent subject . . . In these stories, she writes fearlessly and with insight about love and power between men and women, about the horror of sexual violence and its inescapable aftershocks, about the fierce and flawed tenderness of mothers for their children." - Tampa Bay Times " A powerful collection of short stories about difficult, troubled, headstrong, and unconventional women . . . challenging, quirky, and memorable." - Publishers Weekly "Incredible . . . These stories are so lovely the book is best parceled out into multiple readings, so the reader doesn't miss the nuance and the dark beauty of each tale." - Charleston Gazette-Mail Haunting and powerful stories which run the gamut between real and surreal . . . Rendered with great specificity and empathy, Gay's characters are unforgettable - and certainly, in their own ways, are difficult women, but also real human beings in whom we may all find ourselves reflected." - Buzzfeed "Astonishing, arresting, and staggering." - Book Riot "The collection is often dark and disturbing, but also deeply empathetic . . . In her deliberate and often exquisite attention to detail, she crafts stories that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put away." - Washington Independent Review of Books "Gay tells intimate, deep, wry tales . . . Be they writer, scientist, or stripper, Gay's women suffer grave abuses, mourn unfathomable losses, love hard, and work harder." - Booklist "Roxane Gay is a force . . . These are stories about women, in all of the difficult, glorious, inexplicable forms that we take." - The Rumpus "Gay's writing encompasses so much - simultaneously direct, funny, whipsmart, sometimes painful, and always thought-provoking." - Chicago Review of Books "Unified in theme - the struggles of women claiming independence for themselves - but wide-ranging in conception and form . . . Gay is an admirable risk-taker in her exploration of women's lives and new ways to tell their stories." - Kirkus Reviews "Gay is a master of memoir, personal essay, creative nonfiction and lyrical prose, which gives her writing a smart, modern edge that's hard to look away from." - FUSE "[Gay's] characters . . . aren't superheroes, and they aren't intimidating or 'lethal.' They are like us, whether they live in gated subdivisions, apartments or run-down houses with sagging ceilings. They . . . are haunted by painful memories of abuse and loss. Some are loved and some are lonely, although these categories are not mutually exclusive. They are horny. They are not nice. They are calloused and bruised and yet, somehow, they endure." - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Gay's collection fuses magic realism, science fiction, and the drama into one space to explore several sides of the feminine label. She creates a world within her stories where the various complexities of the feminine existence - the frigid, the aggressive, the broken-can coexist in one place. They can not only coexist in this place but thrive in their own way, without masculine critique or misguided influences. Difficult Women is an amazing and brilliant collection of stories that need to be required reading in a post-Trump society." - Wear Your Voice "It is impossible to read Roxane Gay's Difficult Women and not be chilled by its prescience . . . Gay is an engaging, beguiling storyteller who . . . captures the fragility of love and the awful mundaneness when relationships start to fail . . . One of the most important writers in contemporary English literature." - Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)"