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Difficult Women
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message 1: by El (new) - rated it 2 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
We will be reading Roxane Gay's new novel, Difficult Women for the month of February.

Who will be joining us in this read this month? Has anyone read anything else by Gay?

message 2: by El (new) - rated it 2 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
I'll start by saying I'm excited to read this. I thought it had been out a bit longer than just the past month, so I hope this doesn't pose trouble for people getting a copy of this one.

I've only read Bad Feminist by Gay so far, but have been working up the nerve to read her other novel, An Untamed State. I've heard that one can be a difficult read (as far as subject matter), so I want to be sure to be in the right frame of mind for it.

So this will my first novel by Gay. I have tickets to see her talk in March, so this is also timely.

message 3: by Kay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kay | 72 comments I will be joining in. I have read everything by her and none of her books are easy to read, but I find them important and (unfortunately recently even more) timely. Trigger warning for sexual abuse in the very first story in Difficult Women from what I hear.

El, I hope you have a good time at her talk - I saw her a couple of weeks ago in DC. She read part of a story from the book, but most of the discussion was on current events.

message 4: by El (new) - rated it 2 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
Thanks, Kay! I'll be sure to report back with my thoughts. I'm glad you had a chance to see her as well.

Also thank you for the trigger warning in the first story of this book. That can be very helpful for readers to know before they got into something.

message 5: by N (new) - rated it 4 stars

N | 1 comments I just finished reading this. I was hoping the rest of the book would also reflect the in your face story telling like the first story but found it to be about a lot of sad people having sex. It's not explicit and and I did enjoy it but I did find myself putting this book down for extended length of time.

message 6: by Kay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kay | 72 comments Nicole, I have to disagree with you. I am in the middle of this, so things might change, but I think the stories are about a lot more than "sad people having sex." I think a lot is said about what it means to be a woman in the world today, what women want, what they experience, and how these experiences shape them.

June | 9 comments This is the first book I've read by Gay, and I'm about half-way through. I agree with Nicole that the first story has thus far been the most intense and the most memorable, although I'm enjoying most of them. I like that her women characters have the strength to endure and that Gay herself is such a fearless writer.

message 8: by June (last edited Feb 20, 2017 02:03PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

June | 9 comments I finished the collection and ended up admiring it but not as much as I expected to. I had crazy high hopes! It's is a bold collection - at times difficult to read, but always worthwhile. My main quibble was with some of the writing, which felt prosaic at times to me.

message 9: by El (new) - rated it 2 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
I am finally reading this! Gay read some excerpts from the book when I saw her a couple weeks ago. She is such a funny and whip-smart person. Some of the humor (tongue-in-cheek) comes across during her reading, but it falls short when I read it myself.

I agree with both Nicole and Kay on this. I agree it seems to be all about sex, but I agree with Kay that there is a deeper point there. Unfortunately since all the characters get what they want through sex, it's hard to read much more beyond that. But I am only about 100 pages in so we'll see how it progresses for me.

I also agree with June in that Gay tends to write prosaically. Once in a while she will come through with a strong sentence, but mostly I am underwhelmed in her style and structure. It was less evident for me in Bad Feminist.

But I do like that for the most part these are strong female characters dealing with a variety of different issues and obstacles, and they are not portrayed as flawless.

message 10: by Kay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kay | 72 comments I was actually thinking about her writing style lately as well. Although I am so biased that I give Gay 5 stars on everything of hers I ever read :) I think you have a very strong point about her writing style, El. I actually think she might be a stronger non-fiction than fiction writer.
What is your favorite short story form this collection?

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