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4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,186 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
The debut collection from the vibrant voice of Roxane Gay is a unique blend of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, all interwoven to represent the Haitian diaspora experience.
Paperback, 121 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Artistically Declined Press
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Rating details
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Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote it and all but it's pretty good.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, short-stories
Surprising absolutely no-one, I loved this. I am a huge Roxane Gay fan and I love her short fiction nearly as much as her non-fiction. This collection of short stories showcasts Gay’s tremendous talent and her brilliant voice. While this cannot quite reach the highs of her second collection (very few things do), I still adored this.

Gay’s stories center around pain. There is no way around that. These stories are grim and dark and very depressing. But she also, always, adds some hope, some light,
Ayiti is Roxanne Gay’s debut short story collection. The pages are few. The impact large. Each story flows into the next, although they are unrelated to one another with the exception of the overriding theme of Haiti, as a nation, a place of origin, a place with a complex history – one that grounds those who leave and often presents difficulties to those who stay. Gay’s writing is simultaneously demanding and easy. Love. Tragedy. Death. Survival. Aging. Machetes. Struggle. Friendship. Yearning. ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of Roxanne Gay’s writing, and I really liked this one. Ayiti is a slim collection of short of stories, that appears to have been first published a few years ago. The stories are all focused on characters in Haiti or characters from Haiti, which is where Gay’s own family comes from. There are a few longer stories, and many very short snippets. There is one story in particular that I really liked that I gather formed the basis for her novel An Untamed State. It would be hard to say ...more
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, haiti
Now I get why people love Roxane Gay! This short story collection contains 15 texts of varying length that all deal with Haiti and its people. In the acknowledgements, the author states: "I write about Haiti and the Haitian American experience from a place of great privilege but also a place of great pride" - and this pride shows in the texts themselves. Gay's stories radiate love for the country, its culture and the Haitian people, and the emotional impact derives from the empathy the reader ca ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: april-2018, kindle
I have heard nothing but praise for Roxane Gay, and this collection of tales set entirely in Haiti - 'a place run through with pain' - really appealed to me. Ayiti is accurately described in its blurb as 'a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience'. Some of the stories included are little more than vignettes, or fragments of tales, examining one or two elements of the migrant experience, and covering just a couple of pages. Others are much longer, and have a lot of depth to ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having read but one short collection this entire year, I'm ending 2014 with a really good one. I was gifted this signed copy by a friend and I am so grateful. Ayiti is Roxane Gay's debut novel of short stories. It confronts the reader with Haiti, the good and the bad. It consists of fifteen stories all carrying different themes about Haiti and Haitians.
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I got this copy from Netgalley and I am so happy I requested it.

Ayiti by Roxane Gay is an exceptional collection of short stories that speaks to Haiti. I am amazed that this is a debut novel, but then again, why? Roxane Gay is a master author so I should expect her debut to be flawless.

We don't read a lot about Haiti and Haitians, and when we do it is hardly from someone who is intimate with the country's culture and practices. I am happy Gay chose this was her first collection this is require
This was actually a republishing of her debut story collection that came out in 2011. Apparently there are two new stories in it although I am not sure which ones they are. Basically they all focus on the island of Haiti and the immigrant experience. From a young boy being bullied in school, to a young bride returning home, to a married couple setting sail for America Ayiti is trying to capture the essence of Haiti. In one respect Ayiti tries to dispel prejudicial assumptions towards Haiti and e ...more
Julie' Bookshelf
This is Roxane at her best. This time the stories are connected, though. So this reads more like one short-ish book rather than separate short stories.

It's a compelling and rather personal (read: raw) portrayal of Haiti from several people's perspectives that all still read like one loud-mouthed Roxane Gay.

And that's why we love her!

Thank you NetGalley for this copy in exchange for my honest review. I probably would've bought this book myself otherwise.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
At the heart of Roxane Gay's devastating debut collection, Ayiti, is truth. Whether a language is shared or a language divides, what it offers, when spoken with strength and authority, is an opportunity to share the truth. There is a connection to the desire for truth from the title of the book, which is the Haitian Creole for Haiti, to the final words, which are about more than language. The final words are about that which is beyond language. That which we all share: a desire for love, a relea ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Roxanne Gay book and I can understand why her books are so popular. Ayiti is small, but mighty. The stories, no matter how short, are so powerful. They speak of suffering and resilience, of a country of unspeakable hardship and undeniable love. My favourite story was "Sweet on the Tongue", but all of them broke me in ways I didn't expect.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Paula Bardell-Hedley
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paula by: Edelweiss
“We are keepers of secrets. We are secrets ourselves. We try to protect each other from the geography of so much sorrow. I don't know that we succeed.”
Sweaty! Sticky! Airless! Humid! Ayiti exudes uncomfortably clammy adjectives – though one senses no single word could ever adequately describe the insufferable sultriness of a typical Haitian day without even a small electric fan to stir the fug.

Haiti became the world's first black-led republic and independent Caribbean state after first aboli
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This powerful debut collection of stories illuminate Roxane Gay's brilliance in her masterful ability to weave different narratives with humour and insightful depth at every imaginable turn!
Rachel Aloise
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Ayiti is a completely gripping collection of short, sharp, genre-defying writings. The pieces offer a diverse perspective on Haitian American identity and the immigrant experience. In precise, direct language Gay explores the cultural traits that bond, as well as, more often than not, divide people. “For many years, we didn’t realize our parents had accents, that their voices sounded different to unkind American ears. All we heard was home. Then the world intruded. It always does.”

The story ‘In
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I find myself not sure what to write about Ayiti. It’s a collection of short stories set in Haiti, or with Haitian characters. It evokes Haiti as a place of both beauty and struggle, the sun and the salt of the sea and the stench of blood. The inevitability of kidnap, of beggars, of hunger, of a need to leave. The stories are sensual, some sexual; packed with feeling and meaning.

It’s such a small collection that I feel like all I can remember of it is a cluster of sense-memories: sweat, sugar, b
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Edelweiss+ for an advanced eGalley of this edition of Ayiti.

This collection of stories--highlighting both the Haitian and the Haitian-American immigrant experience--is not new. It was originally released in 2011. However, this edition will be more widely available, and includes several new stories.

Since I did not read the initial release, all of these were new to me, and I found that I was most drawn to three stories: Cheap, Fast, Filling, In The Manner of Water or Light, and The Dirt
Jamise // Spines & Vines
Review pending
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a re-release of Roxane Gay’s first book, now that she’s more well-known and there are a group of us who will read everything she writes. (Except on Twitter — love her tweets but can’t keep up!) It is a collection of stories. Some are longer and more substantial, while others are so short they aren’t even really short stories — I guess they might be considered poetry, except they aren’t written with any kind of structure as far as I can tell.

I am pretty heavily biased against short stori
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ayiti is a short story collection about Haiti and the people who call it home.

Gay excels at creating and crafting compelling and dynamic characters in so few pages. Some stories are as short as a few pages, but make an impact while other stories are longer making the reader feel the pain, suffering, and love infused in every word.

Gay captures the essence of Haiti as a nation with a complicated history and the emotions people feel towards, both negative and positive. The reader is given a sense f
Stephanie Mills
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
***I received Ayiti through Netgalley from Grove Atlantic Grove Press for a honest review*** First let me just say this was my first read by Roxane Gay. Reading this felt like the biggest tease in the best of ways! I feel in love with each and everyone of these short story's. This book encompassed many things Love. Tragedy. Death. Survival. Aging. Machetes. Struggle. Friendship. the list could go on! This collection of short story's had me hooked from the very beginning! I will be reading more b ...more
Heather Fineisen
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gay' s powerful prose makes up this slim volume of stories related to Haiti. Whether the subject is a rape victim or a boy being bullied, there is a strength and resilience in character. There is almost a little gotcha moment at the end of most stories that lets you know your sentimentality wasn't needed.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ayiti is a collection of short stories all centering around the Haitian-American experience or Haitian immigration. Many of the stories are beautifully, and artfully written. My only issue with the collection was that some names were repeated in other stories. I was confused if this was done on purpose to bring some of the characters into the lives of other characters or if she just re-used names- it wasn't very clear or consistent. I also felt like the female characters were a bit interchangeab ...more
Adam Di Filippe
A fantastic collection of essays/short stories, and some poetry.
Xian Xian
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I live under a rock and I never read a single Roxane Gay book until now. I’ve always followed her on social media because I liked what she said and found her essays to be mind opening. She’s a brilliant women, the type of feminist I look up to, well this is based on what I’ve read online, I’ve never actually read Bad Feminist. And one of her books was on sale in late November last year and I had already bought a load of books on Kindle, Octavia E. Butler, Miranda July, and I think Tan Twan Eng. ...more
Apr 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed these hard knock stories of life in Haiti pretty well, and think that as a collection this shows great promise-- there are a couple kinds of stories here, those of people still in Haiti, those who have left, and those who find themselves somewhere in between. The stories take risks with unusual shapes and approaches-- some are very in-the-moment, others are self-consciously literary, and often, in spite of the gritty circumstances the characters find themselves in, the stories are deli ...more
Matthew Salesses
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought I already gave this five stars. In my mind, as soon as I finished this book, I went on Goodreads and gave this book five stars. Five stars is what this book deserves for being such a kick in the heart. It will kick you until your heart stops and then kick you until you come back to life.

AYITI consists of a number of stories about Haitian characters and the Haitian diaspora. Many of the stories use interesting forms. All of the stories are steeped in emotion. This is not a book about do
Shawn Mooney
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
My first Roxane Gay. Okay, people, I get what all the fuss is about. Although this is a somewhat uneven collection of stories and prose poems, holy smokes is Gay's writing ever snappy, breezy, incantatory! These pieces crack open the Haitian and Haitian-American experience with whimsy and myth. This is the kind of writing--these are the kind of stories--that can turn the world upside down. Roxane rocks.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely amazing collection of short stories that revolve around Haiti. The good, the bad, and the ugly of Haiti (and more specifically, the people that interact with the state). This debut collection was originally published by a small press in 2011, and has been added to and republished by Grove Atlantic-and I truly believe the world is a much better place for that. In some ways, Gay seems to be giving a voice to the voiceless and characterizing a state that I rooted for, was angr ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why am I surprised by how amazing this book is? Roxane Gay's HUNGER was my favorite book of 2017, and I also really enjoyed BAD FEMINIST when I read it earlier in the year. This was my first foray into Gay's fiction and boy oh boy... it did not disappoint! I'm in love with her voice, her prose, her perspective, and her ability to infuse hope into the darkest of circumstances. I so appreciate how she writes about sex (sometimes with consent, sometimes without, so definitely a trigger warning)-- t ...more
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Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy culture blog, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK and essays editor for The ...more
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“The waters did not run deep. It was just a border between two geographies of grief.” 1 likes
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