Difficult Women by Roxane Gay [in Library Journal]
Experienced narrator Robin Miles is the ideal proxy for Gay’s difficult women, many of whom are not so much difficult as living lives that have been made difficult, onerous, or tragic by others. Embodying various ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, Miles refreshes and adapts her rich voice with practiced ease from story to story.
Some are complicated: identical twins who like to switch places in “The Mark of Cain”; a daughter who remembers her Saturday trips with her father “In the Event of My Father’s Death.” Others are horrific: a pair of preteen sisters enslaved for six weeks of sexual torture in “I Will Follow You”; the brutal gang rape of a young girl in “Strange Gods.” Some resemble fairy tales – a waterlogged not-quite love story in “Water, All Its Weight – and some are numbingly tragic: the loss of a child by inciting violence in “Break All the Way Down”; silently falling victim to white privilege in “La Negra Blanca.” Unrelenting, unrepentant, unflinching, Gay won’t disappoint.
Verdict: The bonus of Miles’s vocal prowess should convince libraries to invest in these electrifying Women without delay.