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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  5,752 ratings  ·  791 reviews
Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience.

In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. 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 ri
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Grove Press (first published October 11th 2011)
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Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,752 ratings  ·  791 reviews

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Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I wrote it and all but it's pretty good. ...more
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
Diane S ☔
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have tried numerous times before to read this author. Each time I could not handle the in your face realism, brutality that her writing evokes. I saw this, a book of short stories, two new, the others rereleased and thought I'd try once again. Most of these stories are very short, chronicling segments of lives of those from Haiti. They cover alternate expressions of emotions, feeling, sadness next to joy, fear next to courage, brutality next to tenderness. Most stories contain one or more of t ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"People who leave islands always bring a complex mythology."

Roxane Gay's voice comes through in every one of Ayiti's 15 short stories tied in one way or another to Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Gay evokes something in every story (even the sketches that are only about 1-page long). Some of these stories subvert the one-dimensional picture of Haiti as poverty-stricken island nation with voodoo and zombies; others focus on the grief of rape and loss. All of these stories leave an impact on the
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Stirring and fast moving, the stories of Ayiti portray the suffering and resilience of Haitian and Haitian-American women. The debut collection consists of four fleshed-out stories and eleven short sketches. Many of the pieces anticipate the themes of Gay's subsequent work, from gendered violence to collective memory to the experience of immigration. One of the longer stories, "Sweet on the Tongue," even anticipates the plot of her novel, An Untamed State. Gay's prose moves at a brisk pace, and ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*4.5 stars*

Ayiti was my first experience with Roxane Gay but it won't be my last. Ayiti is a beautiful work of short story fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and you won't be able to put it down.

The stories all explore the Haitian diaspora experience and they all flow into one another, but none of the stories are particularly related in any other way. I've always struggled a great deal with short stories as it is a very hard medium to work in and absorb, but Roxane Gay handles them like a maste
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really connect with Roxane Gay's writing. The stories in Ayiti are raw and heart-rending - yet left me feeling hopeful. ...more
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Wow just wow. This short book collection by Roxane Gay really turned me into a huge fan of her work. I enjoyed Hunger but her fiction writing is outstanding. I really do need more of her in my life. This was perfect.
Brown Girl Reading
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.
Click the link to read the rest of the review.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

Ayiti is a slim collection of short stories, and is Roxane Gay's debut collection. Majority of these stories were scanty and felt like a tease, giving us a taste of Gay's imagination, but never reaching a climax or digging deep. Parts of the longest, and arguably the most realized, story in this collection is the main crux of her debut novel An Untamed State, which I have read. So it was a tad disappointing to read something familiar.

In this market, I understand the urge to republish b
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
Wendi Lee
4.5 stars

I’ve read a lot of Gay’s nonfiction, but this is my introduction to her fiction. This short story collection is cohesive in a way you don’t often see, all immersed in the experience of being Haitian: leaving the island or attempting to leave, coming back for traumatic visits, or choosing not to go back, trying to acclimate into American society, and feeling the burden of the stereotypes of what it must be to be a Haitian. The protagonists are straight, queer, poor, well-off, but as dive
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
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, april-2018
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
Julie Parks
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
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. ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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.
Cori Reed
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THIS WAS SO GOOD? How have I been sleeping on Roxane Gay?

Another contender for what may be a favourite of the year...I'm up to three and it's February.
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 a
Lesa Divine
3 🌟
I found myself more intri9in the longer short stories instead of the two or three page teaser that never got anywhere to me to enjoy.

But okay short stories nothing wowing...
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nicole| Booklover.zzz | Zamudio-Román
4.5 stars

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
Rachel Aloise
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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! ...more
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Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Ba ...more

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“Everything I know about my family’s history, I know in fragments. We are the 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.” 15 likes
“The waters did not run deep. It was just a border between two geographies of grief.” 9 likes
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