This is one of Roxane Gay’s works that I had not heard as much spoken or written about in the book community compared to her more recent non-fiction titles – it was first published in 2011 and has recently been re-released with some additional stories.
Ayiti is a short story collection giving different perspectives of the Haitian diaspora experience. They touch on themes of post colonialism and armed conflict, with narratives of rape, same sex love, and refugee and immigration experiences to name just a few. The stories are powerful and well written, and I felt as connected to those that ran just over a page or so to the more lengthy in the collection.
As with another of Gay’s short story collections, Difficult Women, I think she has such a command of the short story format that she is able to bring such depth and complexity in such a short word count. I loved the sensual ‘forbidden’ love in Of Ghosts and Shadows, but was also floored by the harrowing multigenerational story of life born in conflict in In The Manner of Water or Light. This was a brilliant collection and a great starting point for those new to Gay’s fiction.
Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.