DIF­FI­CULT WOMEN

North & South - - Review - JUDITH BARAGWANATH

ROXANE GAY (HA­CHETTE, $29.99)

This col­lec­tion of short sto­ries gets down to the grit of women caught up in wretched and gut-wrench­ing sit­u­a­tions. Often, through no fault of their own, they tread a disas­trous path lit­tered with poverty, loss, low self-worth and trau­ma­tised child­hoods. In “I Will Fol­low You”, two sis­ters who bond for life af­ter they’re ab­ducted and held as sex slaves are for­ever on the run both men­tally and phys­i­cally, while “Break All the Way Down” is both har­row­ing and shock­ing. Dam­aged and eter­nally vul­ner­a­ble, the “dif­fi­cult” women’s at­trac­tion to lousy men (how­ever good in the sack they may be) doesn’t help and – prudes, be­ware – there is quite a lot of ex­plicit sex. Roxane Gay, Ne­braska-born and of Haitian de­scent, writes with in­sight and a pow­er­ful voice on race and women’s is­sues.

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