Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Ayiti

by Roxane Gay

The powerful debut collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience from New York Times-bestselling powerhouse Roxane Gay, now widely available for the first time in Grove Press paperback.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 192
  • Publication Date June 19, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2826-3
  • Dimensions 5" x 7.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date June 19, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6573-2
  • US List Price $0.00

About this Book

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). Clever and haunting by turns, Ayiti explores the Haitian diaspora experience. A married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. 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. Wise, fanciful, and daring, Ayiti is the book that put Roxane Gay on the map and now, with two previously uncollected stories, confirms her singular vision.

Tags Literary

Praise for Ayiti:

“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

“It’s a beautiful little book of stories that everyone should read . . . [Ayiti] is smart, emotional, and wholly brilliant.”—Shondaland

“Gay’s debut short story collection features fifteen punch-you-in the-gut stories . . . Her narrators are sharp and curt . . . [Ayiti is] an impeccably readable antidote to the patronizing news coverage Haitians have received in the past two decades.”—Village Voice

“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

“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

“There is a chance that Roxane Gay has published something great every day for the last few years. That’s why it’s shocking that—although this will change in 2014, when she has two books slated for publication—this incredible little collection is her only proper book to date. When we make a new version of this list in five years, we imagine it will include several of her works.”—Flavorwire

“Haiti has long been the most interesting country in the Americas. Its [Haiti’s] better scribes, among them Edwidge Danticat, Franketienne, Madison Smartt Bell, Lyonel Trouillot, and Marie Vieux Chauvet, have produced some of the best literature in the world. Add to their ranks Roxane Gay, a bright and shining star. Ayiti is an exciting new chapter in an old and beautiful story.”—Kyle Minor, author of In the Devil’s Territory

“Gay. . . rests her stories between worlds, where the unrefined meet the formal, where the beauty of poetic language is never fully swept away from the dirt and grit of honest and genuine moments . . . A debut that feels more like a veteran.”—Monkeybicycle

“Gay’s characters demand respect, for themselves and for Haiti.”—Necessary Fiction

“These are powerful stories written with verve and there’s this great sense at the collection’s close that nothing will stop the Haitian people, the human spirit, or Roxane Gay.”—Ethel Rohan, author of Cut Through the Bone on Ayiti

Praise for An Untamed State

“[A] commanding début . . . Mireille’s struggle to maintain a sense of self while being denied her freedom produces the novel’s most powerful chapters.”—New Yorker

“Roxane Gay’s riveting debut, An Untamed State, captivates from its opening sentence and doesn’t let go. . . . Let this be the year of Roxane Gay: you’ll tear through An Untamed State, but ponder it for long after.”—Nolan Feeney, Time.com

“A fairy tale . . . its complex and fragile moral arrived at through great pain and high cost. . . . Perhaps Haiti, too, is a beautiful princess, well-versed in the vagaries of men, still searching for a happily ever after.” —Holly Bass, The New York Times Book Review

“Poignant . . . haunting . . . When Mireille is finally freed, her rocky adjustment harkens to that of the mother in Emma Donoghue’s Room. . . . Gay writes of her homeland beautifully, describing it in the conflicting, nuanced way that will ring familiar to Americans whose parents hail from troubled lands. . . . Gorgeous writing . . . A wonderful and affecting read.”—Rasha Madkour, Associated Press

“Gay may be working in territory many American readers know through the lyrical stories of Edwidge Danticat, but her style is wholly her own: direct, bracing and propulsive. . . . [A] smart, searing novel.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“To say that An Untamed State ‘tells the story’ of Mireille Duval Jameson – an American lawyer, wife, and new mother, who, while visiting her Haitian parents in Port Au Prince, falls victim to the wave of kidnappings plaguing that city – would be inadequate. Rather, Gay compels her readers to breathe and bleed [it]. . . . Brutally and vividly rendered.” —Abby Frucht, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Bold . . . A terrific read. . . . The character development of Gay’s protagonist, Mireille, is particularly well-crafted and nuanced; her portrayal of a woman who fights her strongest fight to resist being defeated by her captors is compelling and agonizingly felt by the reader. . . . This novel . . . will reward the reader.” —Jim Carmin, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“I applaud Gay’s courage: She writes candidly, vividly, and necessarily . . . You will find it difficult to resist her flawless pacing [and] sharp, clear prose.” —Ariel Gonzalez, The Miami Herald

“Set in Haiti, Roxane Gay’s first novel, An Untamed State, is a roundhouse kick to notions of privilege.” —Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair (Hot Type)

“Wrenching . . . Vividly written.” —Jennifer Weiner, USA Today

“Clear your schedule now! Once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down. An Untamed State is a novel of hope intermingled with fear. . . . It is written at a pace that will match your racing heart.”—Edwidge Danticat, author of Claire of the Sea Light

“A gripping psychological portrait of how trauma remakes the body to respond only to itself . . . Fans of Gay’s work as an editor at The Rumpus and a columnist for Salon (among other places) will see a lush, sensual side to her writing here, turned to describe brutal facts of subjugation and punishment, the agony of waiting to be rescued and the protection of the brain.” —Ellen Wernecke, The Onion AV Club

“Harrowing: truly, it harrows. With iron teeth it pulls up things that do not want to be pulled up. . . . Remarkable.” —NPR

“Excellent . . . Brilliant, eye opening, and necessary. . . . Gay’s prose is direct and muscular, unflinchingly confronting the reality she’s created. . . . To call it ‘hard to put down’ is an understatement; I lost sleep over it, and won’t forget it anytime soon.” —Alison Hallett, Portland Mercury

“[Roxane Gay] has written one of the most unsettling books of the year. And she’s just getting started. . . . Dark, gripping . . . It’s a compelling and at times painful read that addresses the issues of economic privilege, immigration, and sexual assault.” —Tomi Obaro, Chicago Magazine

“A gripping tale of a young mother ensnared in Haiti’s explosive class struggle.” —Natalie Beach, O Magazine (“15 Titles to Pick Up Now”)

“An Untamed State is breathless, artful, disturbing and original. I won’t ever forget it.” —Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings

“Poised to affect anyone who reads the book. . . . Gay weaves a story that is thrilling and readable and, surprisingly, incredibly enjoyable. It is, ultimately, about survival, but walking away from the story unaffected—both the reader and the characters within—is impossible.” —Jessi Cape, The Austin Chronicle

“There are times when reading a novel is painful. Not because the prose is lacking or the narrative lags, but because the subject matter verges on the unbearable. Roxane Gay’s debut novel, An Untamed State, falls under this last category. And yet, you must read it anyway. For beyond missing out on a story of such emotional power, you will miss out, as well, on this emerging writer’s abundant talent and insight, all on stunning display here. . . . An Untamed State is a rich, beautifully crafted novel, which should establish Roxane Gay as a writer who has something important to say and who knows how to say it.” —Susan Buttenwieser, The Brooklyn Rail