I was excited to get a copy of Roxane Gay’s most recent collection of short stories the day it came out, but instead of sitting and devouring it immediately, I found myself dipping in and out of it over the past three weeks. The woman who is followed around by water, seeping into her home, work and life. Two sisters, young adults who can’t leave each other’s side. The teenager who goes to visit her father’s mistress after he dies. The woman made of glass who marries a man who works at a quarry. I wanted to quickly peek into these women’s lives but instead found that each woman I read about wanted to stay with me for awhile.
The title Difficult Women is fitting in that it is a collection of short stories about women, women who would be labelled difficult by others, women in difficult situations. The subject matter of many of the stories may be uncomfortable (strippers dealing with obsessed patrons, child abuse, abusive spouses) but they’re no less wonderfully written and the discomfort is part of the appeal.
Difficult Women is an obvious recommendation for those who were fans of her previous books Bad Feminist or An Untamed State (ebook) but is also for anyone who wants literary short stories that are not shy about laying bare the lives of mistreated humans and how they get through life. Difficult Women is available in hardback and is also available as an ebook (with no waiting).