Roxane Gay - Difficult Women & Viet Thanh Nguyen - The Refugees — at St. Paul's Church
If Roxane Gay’s strong-willed female characters are “difficult,” it’s because they want things to “make sense” but are involved in relationships that don’t. They’ve had parents who walked out. They’ve lost children. They’ve been kidnapped and abused. They have sisters they love more than their spouses. One is even made of glass, but she only seems to be transparent and fragile. In her new collection of stories, Gay, author of the novel An Untamed State and the powerhouse Bad Feminist essays, continues her uncompromising look at issues of race, class, and gender.
Viet Thanh Nguyen won a host of awards, including the Pulitzer, for his first novel, The Sympathizer. In his second work of fiction he frames his exploration of home, exile, and memory in eight well-crafted stories, using the form to powerful effect as he dramatizes various types of culture shock, from the surprises of arriving in a new place to the unexpected strangeness of returning to what once was familiar. Also a noted academic, Nguyen teaches English and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California and has written books on Asian American cultural identity and on the legacy of the Vietnam War.
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