What a rich assortment of stories lie between the covers of Roxanne Gay’s short story collection. The collection is powerful and contemporary, chiefly focussed on the gritty reality of American women’s lives, but a couple of stories in the magical realism genre provide welcome breaks. I’ll mention Requiem for a Glass Heart , which remains with me. I’m still pondering over this one.
I found Roxanne Gay’s stories adopt unexpected, surprising perspectives. She sees women and the world in a fresh and novel way. There are certainly some familiar tropes but there are also refreshingly different stories, skilfully told. A couple of stories have elements of magical realism, which I liked.
Roxanne Gay doesn’t shy away from taboo topics, like sex, violence, mourning, abuse, but she write with clarity and a certain amount of restraint. Whilst she doesn’t hesitate to call a spade a spade, she doesn’t overload her stories with gratuitous detail.
I don’t like the title; my immediate reaction is: it ought to be difficult men! No, I’m not a man hater, but this said, many of the men – and some of the women too – can be described as damaged, either by upbringing or by past events. As ever, one wonders why the women stick around.
! I particularly enjoyed the story about Bianca in ‘Water, all its Weight’. Perhaps because we have finally enjoyed heavy winter rain which has broken our terrible drought. I’m very water conscious at the moment, so the story resonated with me. I don’t want to say any more about Bianca and her unusual relationship with water, lest I spoil it for you, but don’t miss it.
Read the book and see what you think. Recommended.