The Resource An untamed state, Roxane Gay

An untamed state, Roxane Gay

Label
An untamed state
Title
An untamed state
Statement of responsibility
Roxane Gay
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Mireille Duval Jameson is a rich and self-assured Haitian woman who is kidnapped by a gang of heavily armed men. Held captive by a man who calls himself the Commander, Mireille must endure his torment until her unwilling father pays up
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
Library Journal Best Books 2014
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ While we give merely cursory thought to what the kidnappings of the wealthy in impoverished nations might entail, rising star Gay exposes the full horror of this intimate crime and stealthy weapon of social decimation in her superbly written and excoriating first tale of terror and suspense. Set in Haiti, where Gay, the child of Haitian immigrants, spent her summers, the novel opens with Miami-based attorney Mirelle visiting her rich and influential parents with Michael, her white Nebraskan husband, and their baby son. The family is heading to the beach when they’re ambushed by men with machine guns, who drag Mirelle away. Sharp-tongued and aggressive under normal circumstances, Mirelle is furious, though she believes this “business transaction” will be quickly completed. Instead, her proud and ruthless father refuses to pay the ransom, and she stubbornly refuses to beg. Her enraged captors retaliate with an endless siege of rape and torture. Gay contrasts the brutality of the present with the romantic past as traumatized yet stoic Mirelle remembers her and Michael’s rocky courtship, unlikely love, and the reactions of their very different families. Gay is a daring and transfixing storyteller, depicting with valor and deep intent hellishly intrusive violence, shocking betrayal, and psychological devastation, the poison fruits of prejudice, injustice, greed, and desperation. Ferocious, gripping, and unforgettable. -- Seaman, Donna (Reviewed 05-01-2014) (Booklist, vol 110, number 17, p46)
  • Poet and short story writer Gay’s first novel delivers a searing portrait of a politically and economically divided Haiti, as seen through the lens of one family’s nightmare. Mireille Duval Jameson, a Haitian-born young woman, is on vacation from Miami and visiting her upper-class parents in Port-au-Prince when she is kidnapped at gunpoint. Her captors regularly extract hefty ransoms from their wealthy victims, but in this case, Mireille’s too-proud father refuses to pay up until it’s nearly too late, resulting in his daughter suffering 13 days of increasingly savage sexual torture. When Mireille regains her freedom, it’s only the first step in the shaken family’s uncertain recovery. Though the opening kidnapping feels like a scene from a particularly stilted thriller, Gay soon finds a more assured footing as she narrows in on the pain each character both endures and inflicts. Mireille’s desperate attempts to wrestle control from her kidnappers by sacrificing her body are deeply felt, but it’s the author’s unflinching portrayal of Mireille’s shattered physical and psychological state once she’s rejoined her husband and infant son that is at once disturbing and frighteningly resonant. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (May) --Staff (Reviewed February 17, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 07, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ What happens after you have been kidnapped, beaten, raped, and humiliated by a gang of armed men while your extremely wealthy father holds on to his "principles" and refuses to pay the ransom to ensure your swift release? That is the subject of this much-anticipated debut novel from Gay, already celebrated for her short stories. Mireille Jameson endures this horrific situation when she visits her impoverished homeland of Haiti with her American husband, Michael, and their young son. Led by the Commander, the kidnappers torment Mireille for her privileged life as she tries to remain unbroken. It is not until she returns to Miami that the experience truly haunts her. She becomes erratic, preferring instability over home and family. As Michael pulls away, Mireille's mother-in-law offers her comfort through a recovery fraught with insecurity, guilt, and uncertainty. VERDICT Gay brilliantly writes of the story's external events while skillfully capturing Mireille's internal anguish. Not since Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper has an author so effectively captured the descent into mental instability. This novel is recommended for lovers of literary and Caribbean fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 11/22/13.]— Ashanti White, Yelm, WA --Ashanti White (Reviewed February 1, 2014) (Library Journal, vol 139, issue 2, p62)
  • /* Starred Review */ A harrowing and emotionally cleareyed vision of one woman's ordeal during and after her kidnapping in Haiti. Gay's remarkable debut novel is mostly narrated by Mireille, who, as the story opens, is visiting her native Haiti from Miami with her husband and infant son when she's forcibly abducted by a gang and held for 13 days. She was a target because her father heads a highly profitable construction firm, and his resistance to paying ransom baffles Mireille's U.S.-born husband, Michael; meanwhile, she's repeatedly beaten and sexually assaulted by her captors. Gay's characters are engineered to open up conflicts over gender, class (Mireille's family is wealthy in a poor country) and race (Mireille is black and Michael is white). But Gay's dialogue complicates rather than simplifies these issues. As a prolific essayist and critic, Gay (Writing/Eastern Illinois Univ.) has developed a plainspoken, almost affectless style, which serves her heroine's story well: The more bluntly Gay describes Mireille's degradations, the stronger the impact. Gay's depiction of Mireille's emotional trauma after her release is particularly intense, precisely capturing her alienation from her own identity that followed the kidnapping and the self-destruction that spilled out of her sense of disconnection. The novel alternates between past and present, and flashbacks to Mireille's childhood and marriage underscore the intelligence and emotional ferocity she accessed to survive her ordeal. (She persistently supported in-laws who were initially inclined to dismiss her.) The closing chapters suggest that Mireille is on the path to recovery, but it's also clear that a true recovery is impossible; many of Gay's scenes deliberately undermine traditional novelistic methods of resolution (baking bread, acts of vengeance, acting out sexually). Among the strongest achievements of this novel is that Mireille's story feels complete and whole while emphasizing its essential brokenness. A cutting and resonant debut.(Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2014)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10301594
Cataloging source
BTCTA
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Gay, Roxane
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Kidnapping
  • Corruption
  • Haiti
Label
An untamed state, Roxane Gay
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
21 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
370 p.
Isbn
9780802122513
Isbn Type
(softcover)
System control number
(OCoLC)858894752
Label
An untamed state, Roxane Gay
Publication
Dimensions
21 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
370 p.
Isbn
9780802122513
Isbn Type
(softcover)
System control number
(OCoLC)858894752

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