Roxane Gay’s Ayti. A review and talk.

I held on to my copy of Ayti for quite a while after buying it because I was really looking forward to reading it.

I have been a lover of Roxane’s work for quite a while. You should go check out her work.

In Ayti the reader is presented at first look   with a piece called Motherfuckers. For me as a reader, I felt comforted. Even if I hadn’t read a lot of Roxane’s work previously, that opening story would put me in an at ease place. As I read I felt very comfortable in saying this writer is my people.

I say my people but not because I am Haitian which I’m not, but because her stories are not just pretty to be pretty. They are beautiful and some of them hurt. I am as I have mentioned, a bit of a masochist when it comes to reading. All my favorite writers hit a very particular sequence of emotional buttons with me.

Roxane was standing on those buttons.

When it comes to women writers, I have a special love for women who write in and on the body. A lot of Roxane’s work is very rooted in the body. Bitter flavors on the tongue, emotional pain that the reader can feel on their skin.  There is texture and weight to how she describes warm sand or a hot night.

If I had my way this book would be required reading for those who only ever read Fucked up White Dude/Manic Saveable White Lady fiction.

This is an antidote.

I honestly wish I’d had books like this when I was a teenager and writing away trying so hard to emulate the stories I loved but that did not resonate with me beyond their beauty. So yes, I highly recommend reading this book.

Beyond how much I love this book aesthetically, there are some very crafty things in this book.

This (you get no context buy the book) sentence hit me hard.

I cried to wash us all clean.

By itself, the thing I love about this line is the repetition of the C sound, cried and clean respectively.  The cadence of that and the way I read made for a major moment of impact. I slowed down as a reader and lingered at this, I read this section of this story a few times just because of this sentence and that in my eyes is a masterful moment.

As I read this book being that it is a collection of stories, I felt the care that went into them.  I like that.

I truly admire Roxane and her work. Even if I didn’t know she’s a pretty cool person, I would still really feel her work down deep.

And I have a cold so I’m going to wrap it up some.

Seriously go check her out and then report back.  The next review will be Daniel Fights a Hurricane by Shane Jones. I won a copy of this book over at HTMLGIANT without ever having read any of his work and I really enjoyed it. Now go forth and read some stuff.

About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie. View all posts by Shannon Barber

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