|Photo Credit:Amazon Author Page|
From the inside flap: “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.”
Whoa! This book is 370 pages and I read it in two days. It is relentless from paragraph one. I woke up at 8:30 a.m. and reached for it, only to remember that I had finished it just after 1:30 a.m. the same morning. Even if only for a weekend, this book ran my life. But it is not for the faint of heart.
The book opens with the kidnapping. Mireille describes the experience in detail. Throughout the book she recounts the brutality she experiences at the hands of her captors. Between these scenes, we learn about “the before.” Mireille’s “fairy tale” life with Michael is a love story being told amidst the horror of her current situation.
After only a few days in captivity, she realizes that if she continues to fight the men who are abusing her, they will beat and torture her to death. In order to return to her “fairy tale,” she reduces herself to “no one.” For thirteen days, she endures rapes and beatings. Mireille, a daddy’s girl, slowly loses love for her father who refuses to pay the ransom.
Sebastian, Mireille's father, started his own construction company in Port au Prince after working years in America, being the best at what he does, but getting less than he deserved. Her parents now live in Haiti where they built a home behind a secure wall, and under the protection of armed guards. Their wealth is the reason Mireille is a target.
This author stays focused. We aren’t introduced to random characters, and storylines don’t fall by the wayside. They are instead amplified by numerous parallels. Mireille gets her tenacity, strength, and stubbornness from her father. His tenacity, strength, and stubbornness are the reason she remains in captivity. Mirelle could never imagine living her life on the farm where her husband was raised. But after her release, it is where she begins to pull her life back together.
I now know why the literary world has been going crazy about Roxane Gay. She’s won me over too. Immediately after finishing it, I read Ayiti, a collection of short stories by Gay. I’ve discovered that An Untamed State was one of the stories. I’m in awe of how authors can turn a few pages into an entire novel, but I guess every story is short when it begins. I will post the review on Ayiti soon.
"I lied because that lie cost me less than the truth would have cost him."