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An Untamed State Paperback – 2 Jul 2015
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An Untamed State is breathless, artful, disturbing and original. I won’t ever forget it. (Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings)
Finished @rgay’s gripping and brilliant novel An Untamed State last night. It resists 140-character analysis, but wow. (John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars Twitter)
Once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down. An Untamed State is a novel of hope intermingled with fear, a book about possibilities mixed with horror and despair. It is written at a pace that will match your racing. (Edwidge Danticat)
Roxane Gay’s riveting debut, An Untamed State, captivates from its opening sentence and doesn’t let go . . . So let this be the year of Roxane Gay: You’ll tear through An Untamed State, but ponder it for long after. (Time Magazine)
I read An Untamed State in one sitting – I realize that it's absolutely cliche to say "I couldn't put it down" but from the other reviews I've seen of the book, I can see that I'm not alone in that sentiment. (Jessica Valenti Guardian)
Gay's novel puts a face, a name and especially a voice to the rampant global violence against women. (Los Angeles Times)
A fairy tale . . . its complex and fragile moral arrived at through great pain and high cost. . . . Perhaps Haiti, too, is a beautiful princess, well-versed in the vagaries of men, still searching for a happily ever after. (New York Times Book Review)
A smart, searing novel. (Washington Post)
Mirielle Duval Jameson’s fairy tale life is shattered when, during a visit to Haiti with her American husband and their child, she is kidnapped. Her father, a self-made millionaire, refuses to pay the ransom; and so Mirielle's captors take their revenge - pushing her beyond what she previously thought possible to endure. An Untamed State is a stunning achievement: a compelling, unflinching, deeply moving and unmissable novel.See all Product description
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The story sounds really interesting - a woman is kidnapped in Haiti and her family have to deal with it. I was also immediately attracted by the way that the chapters were numbered (you'll have to buy the book to see this).
So... Mireille have been kidnapped and she is telling her story. Her narrative is punctuated by chapters from the perspective of her husband and father as they try to negotiate her release.
I was completely blown away by how I was effected by reading this. I don't shy away from an uncomfortable book and have read many stories of torture, deprivation and human endurance. So I was amazing how the descriptions of her time in captivity actually made me feel sick and faint - I found that I couldn't read these sections in long sessions.
We know that the main narrator survives as she is telling the story from a future point, and occasionally we are reminded of the time gap and how she has been able to reflect on the effects of what she went through.
Mireille is very well drawn character. The psychological and physical changes are portrayed clearly, to the point that I kept having to remind myself that this was actually a novel - it does feel much more like a memoir.
Roxanne Gay is an amazing writer and she captures everything that it is to be a woman.
This book, is not an easy read, it is not supposed to be, it is hard and sad and moving. But it is not written with complicated language or hard to understand syntax, what is hard about this book is the reality which it speaks to and the topics it covers. We do not live in a nice world a lot of the time, and rarely do we get books that take that fact and force us to look at it. And yet it is not a work without hope, there is something vital about Gay's only fiction to date, something necessary and powerful. This is book about something sad and hard, but its also and importantly a book about survival. She's an incredible author, I would recommend it to anyone who seeks to understand the consequences behind some of these themes of race, rape and gender. But also to people in general, who need to read this, if only to have their eyes opened.