Same book (with just a few changes), same writer ... the collection is Roxane Gay's debut book-length work, Ayiti. Comprising of 15 short stories, including flash fiction and some essayistic pieces ... It's one of those weird neuroses of the literary world where a mediocre novel with boring bits, caricatures for characters, flimsy sub-plots, etc., will get published easily because there are 'moments of brilliance' or the subject matter is 'on trend'. But a short story collection, where almost every story has probably undergone a rigorous review process with literary magazine editors — as is the case here — is held to a different standard.
Gérard spends his days thinking about the many reasons he hates America... the people, the weather, especially the cold.' So begins Roxane Gay’s Ayiti, a compact but powerful short fiction collection that can be read in one sitting ... A disturbingly beautiful mélange illuminating the Haitian diaspora, each piece captures the humanity of a people, boils and all ... We, the readers, who are intimate with the United States’s sorrows, are left grateful that Gay has opened up for us another portal into the variety of immigrant experiences in our country.
Not all of the stories are successful. The brevity of some (the shortest is just half a page long) gives the book a stop-start feel, while some characters appear totemic or barely coloured in ... A series of stories about the negative stereotyping of Haitians in the American media read like political diatribes thinly disguised as fiction. Yet the collection creates an emotional momentum that overrides the failings of individual stories ... Both heterosexual and same-sex love contain mutual satisfaction and Gay has an exceptional talent for describing a pure and joyous passion that shines bright, even against the darkness of the collection’s violence.