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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

ARC Review: Ayiti by Roxane Gay

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36739756-ayiti
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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.

Review:
Roxane Gay has a literary voice like no other.  In Ayiti, her book about the Haitian immigrant experience, the prose are raw and unapologetic.  This collection of short stories is filled with characters in the midst of powerful small moments.  I could have easily read a longer novel about any of these people.

What I Liked:
Characters:
Each character is fully formed and I would be happy to read a longer novel about any of them.  I was especially drawn to the characters in the story called In The Manner of Water and Light.  Three generations of women in a family deal with a traumatic history.  I wanted to know more about each of these women and how (or if) they could find peace.

In Sweet on the Tongue, a woman and her husband, must come to terms with a terrible event that happened on their honeymoon in Haiti.  The pain and shame felt by the characters bubbles just beneath the surface of every interaction.

Stories:
Each character is having some kind of interaction with an American.  While a few of these are positive moments, most have a undertone of racism.  As a person who is not Haitian, it is sobering to read that these are immigrants experiences people are having right now.

I was also very moved by complicated relationship Haitian immigrants had with their culture.  Even though they loved their country, it was so dangerous in Haiti that the people felt they had no choice but to leave.

Sexuality:
I am normally not a fan of explicit sex in books, but this was an important component of Ayiti.  The inclusion of these scenes was not gratuitous.  Each sex scene had a purpose to show the intense emotions of the characters.  But if you want to stay clear of this kind of writing, this book would not be for you.


Trigger warning for scenes of rape.

Rating: 




Release Date:  June 12th, 2018

Author:  Roxane Gay

Publisher:  Grove Press

Genre:  Fiction Short Stories

Pages: 320 pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  This is a powerful book about Haitians and the immigrant experience, and well worth taking the time to read.
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