Booklist Reviews 2018 May #1
Gay's parents were born in Haiti, the country that the characters in these 15 stories live in, visit, or leave and consider with the pride that exists especially for one's homeland. Many stories hold highly dimensioned characters and unforgettable moments in under a few pages, such as when a boy, a recent immigrant to the U.S., is teased for his body odor and reaps his own revenge. "Sweet on the Tongue" introduces a woman, known for her strong will, who recounts her husband's patient wooing followed by her brutal abduction from their honeymoon, calling to mind Mirelle, the captured heroine of Gay's ferocious thriller, An Untamed State (2014). In "In the Manner of Water or Light," a woman conceived during Trujillo's murderous massacre of Haitians can't escape the smell of blood; when the first doctor to finally try to help her is a fellow Haitian in the U.S., she marries him. Dismantling the glib misconceptions of her complex ancestral home, Gay cuts and thrills. Readers will find her powerful first book difficult to put down.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This rerelease of Gay's first collection, originally published by a small press in 2011, will be brand new to most readers and follows hot on the heels of the success of her second collection, Difficult Women, and memoir, Hunger, Booklist's 2017 Top of the List Nonfiction title. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.