'Phenomenally powerful and beautifully written' the Guardian
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind.
From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.
'Gay brings the powerful voice that flows through her work as a novelist and cultural critic to the 21 short stories in her first collection . . . Gay's "difficult women" are unforgettable' BBC.com
'Gay's signature dry wit and piercing psychological depth make every story mermerisingly unusual and simply unforgettable' Harper's Bazaar
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.