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An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A very good book, not a nice one but certainly an excellent one. Told mostly from Mireille’s perspective it tells of her kidnapping in Haiti and her mental and physical torture as her father refuses to pay the ransom. We get before and how she met her husband, her relationship with her family, but the centre of the story is her days in captivity. At times turning inward to forget her life, at times fighting, she becomes two different people. It is the mental picture that is so compelling. A powerful read with the bottom line, under any circumstances, don’t go to Haiti!

If you like Roxane Gay you might also like to read books by Emma Donoghue, Chris Cleeve and Kazuo Ishiguro.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti's richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father's Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents. An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a wilful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places. An Untamed State establishes Roxane Gay as a writer of prodigious, arresting talent.


'An Untamed State is breathless, artful, disturbing and original. I won't ever forget it.' -- Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings

'Finished @rgay's gripping and brilliant novel An Untamed State last night. It resists 140-character analysis, but wow.' -- John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars

'Once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down. An Untamed State is a novel of hope intermingled with fear, a book about possibilities mixed with horror and despair. It is written at a pace that will match your racing.' -- Edwidge Danticat

'Roxane Gay's riveting debut, An Untamed State, captivates from its opening sentence and doesn't let go ... So let this be the year of Roxane Gay: You'll tear through An Untamed State, but ponder it for long after.' Time Magazine

'I read An Untamed State in one sitting - I realize that it's absolutely cliche to say I couldn't put it down but from the other reviews I've seen of the book, I can see that I'm not alone in that sentiment.' -- Jessica Valenti Guardian

About the Author

Roxane Gay's writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, American Short Fiction, the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, the Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal , and many others including her Tumblr, She is the co-editor of PANK and essays editor for the Rumpus. She teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University. She tweets at @rgay.

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Book Info

Publication date

8th January 2015


Roxane Gay

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Corsair an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


384 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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