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Difficult Women

On sale

3rd January 2017

Price: £13.99

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472152787

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‘Phenomenally powerful and beautifully written’ the Guardian

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.

‘Gay brings the powerful voice that flows through her work as a novelist and cultural critic to the 21 short stories in her first collection . . . Gay’s “difficult women” are unforgettable’

‘Gay’s signature dry wit and piercing psychological depth make every story mermerisingly unusual and simply unforgettable’ Harper’s Bazaar

Dark, yes, difficult, yes, but also luminous, transporting, and totally worth the effort.
A writer of prodigious, arresting talent
Lena Dunham
Roxane is a powerhouse of a writer.
Different to anything I've read before . . . Be warned, it can get a little dark at times, but the collection is worth it
Gay tells intimate, deep, wry tales of jaggedly dimensional women. . . . Be they writer, scientist, or stripper, Gay's women suffer grave abuses, mourn unfathomable losses, love hard, and work harder
Sunday Times
A powerful, two-fisted collection with heart under its surface.
USA Today
Gut-wrenching . . .They aren't just characters. They are our mothers, sisters and partners. They are human. They are us . . . Difficult Women is not a collection of happy stories, but these are real stories about real experiences and women seeking, deserving happy endings. They aren't victims but survivors . . . Gay makes mosaics out of these women, seeing them as perfectly imperfect wholes in a world that routinely tries to break them down to pieces.
The Boston Globe
The great James Baldwin once said, "You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal." In "Difficult Women," Gay achieves that goal. Her writing is unfussy, well matched to the women and men she's created, and she finds a distinct rhythm both elegant and plainspoken . . . In "Difficult Women," Gay gives these often-overlooked lives color and meaning. From a ramshackle Michigan trailer park to the affluence and ennui of a gated community in Florida - and myriad points in between - Gay writes of chances missed and unexpected joy, love gone awry or resurrected, and the slivers of hope that keep these fascinating women alive.
The Guardian
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.
Harper's Bazaar
Gay's signature dry wit and piercing psychological depth make every story mermerisingly unusual and simply unforgettable.
Kirkus Reviews
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
Gay brings the powerful voice that flows through her work as a novelist and cultural critic to the 21 short stories in her first collection . . . Gay's "difficult women" are unforgettable.
Chicago Review of Books
Gay's writing encompasses so much-simultaneously direct, funny, whipsmart, sometimes painful, and always thought-provoking . . . Difficult Women [is] wonderful.
Publishers Weekly
Powerful . . . Gay's fantastic collection is challenging, quirky, and memorable.
Library Journal (starred review)
Gay expands her writing prowess with this collection featuring colorful women protagonists . . . Refreshing yet intricate . . . This work will appeal to lovers of literary and feminist fiction
New York Times
Gay has fun with these ladies. Her narrative games aren't rulesy. She plays with structure and pacing . . . She moves easily from first to third person, sometimes within a single story. She creates worlds that are firmly realist and worlds that are fantastically far-fetched
Book Riot
Astonishing, arresting, and staggering
Star Tribune
The women here are complex, but not in the typical way of fiction. Much like Mireille, the protagonist of Gay's profound and violent novel, "An Untamed State," the women here reveal themselves in how their minds adjust to a world that seems bent on violating their bodies . . . This collection begs for a slow, serious reading.