REVIEW: Ayiti, Roxane Gay

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

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 river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. 

It is absolutely no surprise to anyone that my most liked (and more importantly, most consistent liked) short story collection I have read so far, is by Roxane Gay. I mean, this is my first piece of writing by her (after watching her from afar on social media) and I am already in love with her. Her narrative voice is just so strong, her talent so rich, the tone of all the stories in the collection so evocative and filled with anger and pain and longing and love. Listening to her speak on social media, it is immediately apparent as to why her debut collection was focussed on the realities of both living in Haiti, and life as an immigrant after you make the decision to leave. Ayiti proves to be an incredible insight into Haiti, a place that I admittedly know little about, but which has an inarguably complex history. A fact that almost mirrors the complex feelings that Roxane Gay has about her home country; the pull and the love that she feels towards it, as well as the fear; and the complicated relationship between her two, almost incompatible identities, with her being a lesbian from a place in which homosexuality is not accepted.
A truly powerful collection indeed.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Head on over to for this book, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

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