[Haiti] Roxane Gay's 'An Untamed State' gives torture survivor a voice

Chris Daley – LA Times – Friday, 23 May 2014 (originally published 22 May)

The cover of "An Untamed State."
The cover of “An Untamed State.” Image: Grove Press

I was no one.” These four words are the refrain of Mireille Duval Jameson, a young Haitian American attorney held captive for 13 days and brutally tortured by local criminals in Port-au-Prince. The story told in Roxane Gay’s debut novel, “An Untamed State,” is Mireille’s way of regaining her identity after her release.

Gay is a writer attuned to inequality, a condition she explores in fiction and nonfiction. From her prose collection “Ayiti” to her Twitter feed to her forthcoming book of essays, “Bad Feminist,” she does not shy away from calling attention to all forms of disenfranchisement. She is no stranger to providing a voice for those who may have obstacles to sharing theirs.

Written from Mireille’s perspective, “An Untamed State” is an account of what is normally unaccountable: a level of trauma that, even if it is survived, is often too painful to relate . . .

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