Library Journal Review
Experienced narrator Robin Miles is the ideal proxy for Gay's difficult women, many of whom are not so much difficult as living lives that have been made difficult, onerous, or tragic by others. Embodying various ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, Miles refreshes and adapts her rich voice with practiced ease from story to story. Some are complicated: identical twins who like to switch places in "The Mark of Cain"; a daughter who remembers her Saturday trips with her father "In the Event of My Father's Death." Others are horrific: a pair of preteen sisters enslaved for six weeks of sexual torture in "I Will Follow You"; the brutal gang rape of a young girl in "Strange Gods." Some resemble fairy tales-a waterlogged not-quite love story in "Water, All Its Weight-and some are numbingly tragic: the loss of a child by inciting violence in "Break All the Way Down"; silently falling victim to white privilege in "La Negra Blanca." Unrelenting, unrepentant, unflinching, Gay won't disappoint. VERDICT The bonus of Miles's vocal prowess should convince libraries to invest in these electrifying Women without delay. ["Refreshing yet intricate, in the vein of Clarence Major's Chicago Heat and Other Stories, this work will appeal to lovers of literary and feminist fiction": LJ 12/16 starred review of the Grove hc.]-Terry Hong, -Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Gay (Bad Feminist) pens a powerful collection of short stories about difficult, troubled, headstrong, and unconventional women. "I Will Follow You" tracks the bond of two adult sisters who refuse to live in fear after being kidnapped and assaulted as young girls. In "The Mark of Cain," a wife pretends not to know that her abusive husband has swapped places with his kinder identical twin, who doesn't beat her. The darkly humorous title story outlines the traits of different types of "difficult women" in flash-style vignettes. A jilted woman recovering from delivering a stillborn child finds love far from her home and past in "North Country." And in "Break All the Way Down," a couple learns to overcome their guilt and grief over the death of their son when they are handed a new child by a mother who can't care for her. Whether focusing on assault survivors, single mothers, or women who drown their guilt in wine and bad boyfriends, Gay's fantastic collection is challenging, quirky, and memorable. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
As the title of her new collection suggests, essayist (Bad Feminist, 2014) and novelist (An Untamed State, 2014) Gay tells intimate, deep, wry tales of jaggedly dimensional women. Gay sets her stories, which have all appeared previously in a variety of publications, in many corners of the U.S., with Upper Michigan the most frequent locale. In the brilliant North Country, a woman wonders if she can survive the frigid bleakness for the two years her postdoctoral fellowship requires, and in Bone Density, a writer turns a blind eye to her respected husband's many affairs while meeting her own lover in a cabin in the woods. Some stories approach fantasy, as in Requiem for a Glass Heart, when a man called only the stone thrower loves a woman made entirely of glass, and in Noble Things, in which a couple must choose sides for the sake of their son after the second Civil War and the secession of the American South. Be they writer, scientist, or stripper, Gay's women suffer grave abuses, mourn unfathomable losses, love hard, and work harder.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2016 Booklist