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Ayiti

Written by: Roxane Gay
Narrated by: Roxane Gay
Length: 2 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. Originally published by a small press, this edition will make Gay’s debut widely available for the first time, including several new stories. 

In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. 

These early stories showcase Gay’s prowess as "one of the voices of our age” (National Post, Canada).

©2011, 2018 Roxane Gay. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about Ayiti

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A loosely linked collection of stories

Is there a name for this type of literature? It is a collection of short stories that at first seem unrelated, but they are all from one woman's life. Her life is set in Haiti and the USA. Over time, questions from one story are answered in another, filling in the blanks and curiosities. It has opened me to more short story collections in the future.

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strong storytelling of short stories

Powerful storytelling- sexual and sensual writing and an appreciation of the shared perception of Haiti's culture.

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Wonderful

I loved this book. I want to recommend it to everyone. Loved the narration, the story is at times sad but leaves you feeling inspired

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Not what I was expecting

This book is a collaboration of lot of short stories. I found the stories were too short, and although some of them started to peak my interest they ended quickly and it felt like the stories didn't give you a chance to really get insight into the characters and you are left hanging not knowing how they end.

There are a few graphically written erotic stories which in my opinion weren't really necessary but again, they were too short to actually pull me in and get me excited to find out more.
This book just wasn't for me.

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  • steph
  • 2018-10-01

Great short collection

At such a short length (< 3 hours), this really packs a punch. Definitely some difficult topics such as sexual assault so be aware. But I would definitely recommend this to friends of mine, and I thought Roxane Gay did a great job with her own narration. I listened to this a few months ago, and some of the stories have still stuck in my memory so vividly.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Jill Love
  • 2018-08-06

The Best Short Story Collection...

...I have read. Always a pleasure when the author is the narrator of the audio book! Well balanced, thoughtful, and utterly satisfying.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Lovesmuffins2
  • 2018-08-18

A Glimpse of Real

Wonderful shorts that give a glimpse of real life in a Haiti as only those with family or personal experience can tell. Regional insights that transcend into all human experience especially for women, but men will find it compelling as well.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Happy Woman
  • 2019-06-06

Beautifully written stories

I listened while on a long drive. I found myself immersed in the stories and picturing myself there with the characters in the story. I laughed, I cried. So many feelings were evoked.
Roxane Gay is a gift and a gifted writer. I’m so glad to have found and read most of her books (looking forward to more).
Important reads for anyone, especially those who’d like to learn about people who may seem different from yourself, but really are no different than you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Karen West
  • 2019-06-02

Not great

I was hoping to learn a bit more of Haiti,but book only stressed that Haitians have full active and varied sex lives

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rickey Lee Kimball
  • 2019-08-01

disjointed stories

Just a bunch of rambling stories. all sad. I never got into it . (Two more words are needed)

1 person found this helpful

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  • w.l.
  • 2019-06-07

Short stories of Haitians and Haitian life

This is a collection of short stories based on Haiti and the Haitian born living in the United States or in the Island nation.

I listened to this on a whim between other reads. I don't read a lot of short stories which at first results in confusion as one story ends and another begins. I felt the author was a great reader, and for the most part I enjoyed her writing, but the reason I don't often read short stories is a need for more.

Each served to illuminate a bit about an aspect of being Haitian, the life, poverty, and culture, as well as the human condition of all peoples. I recommend it to those who like Roxane Gay and those who like the genre.

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  • Cheri Thompson
  • 2019-05-25

Meh

Just okay, nothing special or riveting here. I really had a tough time following this one.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Steven
  • 2019-10-18

Little of value

I had hoped to learn more of life in Haiti from the perspective of various Haitian patriots and ex-pats. There was little of that and much more than I need to know about sex, ranging from straight to gay and some rape thrown in as well. I can’t recommend this one.

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  • Joe Kraus
  • 2019-10-12

Short & Powerful Stories from Varied Eyes

It’s hard to know quite what this book is. It’s sort of a short story collection, but – while there is one fine full-length story and three or four mid-length ones – much of it is closer to poetry. It’s got strong dashes of what feel like autobiography, but then it veers into points of view very different from one another. It has moments of real tenderness toward parents and children, and then it features work that feels like (and indeed was originally published as) erotica.

The fact that this is hard to categorize, though, is part of what makes it as strong as it is. Gay refuses to stand still as a self-identified immigrant. She doesn’t give us the story (or stories) her subjectivity is “supposed” to share. Instead, she reveals her own experience (or seems to – unless you check out her biography somewhere else, it’s hard to know where her life ends and her invention begins) and then insists on her authority to write the fiction that appeals to her.

Some of her protagonists are Anglo, some straight, some still children, some wealthy, some at risk of death, and some comfortably established in the U.S. I listened to this, and that compounded the sense that one story/prose poem bleeds into another. It’s tempting to identify Gay with some protagonists over others, but resisting that temptation seems to be a big part of what we’re asked to do. This is a narrative voice that flashes its ethnic experience, that trumpets its Haitian sensibility, and that then ventures wherever it chooses to go.

I think it might be interesting some day to read this in conversation with Sandra Cisneros’s House on Mango Street. Both explore ethnic perspective in small doses (making each readily teachable) and both tweak the expectation that its author has any obligation to translate a particular ethnic experience into prose that a widespread (i.e. white and “non-ethnic”) readership can access.

I’ve been following Gay in a small way for a couple years. This is my first full-length work of hers (and it’s fleetingly short, of course) and I enjoyed it more than I expected. As a critic – in the limited way I’ve read her – she seems contradictory, though I acknowledge she may well make a consistent case for herself in Bad Feminist. Here, her ability to be one thing and then another, to insist on the power of her ethnic heritage and then – just as fully – to insist on her right to write as a full citizen of the world, gives this short and beautiful work a powerful punch.