An Untamed State By: Roxane Gay
(Grove Press, Black Cat, 2014, 370 pages)
Mireille Duval Jameson has a loving husband, a brand new baby son, and a family that she respects. Her parents live in Haiti where her father is extremely successful and warns his family that if they are captured, he will not pay their ransom. So when Mireille is taken in front of her father’s estate by a gang and held captive, she knows her father will not pay the ransom to return Mierille to her family. Her husband battles with her father to get her released while Mierille tries to forget everything that was good about her life in order to survive the violence of The Commander and his men. After thirteen days Mierille is returned to her family a completely different woman who is unsure if she can survive the memories of her days with The Commander.
What an excruciating read. Roxane Gay is quickly becoming one of my favorite present day writers. Between her eye opening essays in Bad Feminist to this raw piece of fiction that captivated me from the very beginning, she is a strong voice that needs to be heard. Mireille is portrayed as a strong-willed woman even before she is captured and it’s heartbreaking to see what these men bring her too while she is captive and beyond when she returns to the United States in pieces. The reader is also exposed to the dangers, beauty, and devastation that is Haiti. I will be eagerly awaiting whatever Gay publishes next.