Roxane Gay is an award-winning literary voice praised for her fearless and vivid prose, and her debut collection Ayiti exemplifies the raw talent that made her "one of the voices of our age" (National Post, Canada). Clever and haunting by turns, Ayiti explores the Haitian diaspora experience. A married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. 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. Wise, fanciful, and daring, Ayiti is the book that put Roxane Gay on the map and now, with two previously uncollected stories, confirms her singular vision.
“The themes explored in Gay's nonfiction, such as the transactional nature of violence and the ways in which stereotypes of poverty add another layer of dehumanization, are just as potent here. Even her more lyrical mode is filtered through a keen sense of the lost promise of one country and the blinkered privilege of the other. It’s Gay’s unflinching directness—the sense that her characters are in the room with you, telling it like it is—that makes her irresistible.”—Vogue
“It’s a beautiful little book of stories that everyone should read . . . [Ayiti] is smart, emotional, and wholly brilliant.”—Shondaland
“Gay’s debut short story collection features fifteen punch-you-in the-gut stories . . . Her narrators are sharp and curt . . . [Ayiti is] an impeccably readable antidote to the patronizing news coverage Haitians have received in the past two decades.”—Village Voice