Welcome, dear ones! I hope you are as excited as I am to begin our book club discussion of Roxane Gay’s brilliant debut novel An Untamed State. As soon as I read the first few pages, I knew it would be a perfect fit for our readers. I mean, heads up, this is not a novel about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, which Roxane helpfully lays out for you in her opening paragraph:
Once upon a time, in a far-off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men with so much impossible hope beating inside their bodies it burned their very skin and strengthened their will right through their bones. They held me captive for thirteen days.
They wanted to break me.
It was not personal.
I was not broken.
This is what I tell myself.
But if you read that, and feel equipped to delve into the novel that follows it, we’re here with you. This first discussion is going to cover only the very short excerpt which can be found here, so that everyone is able to follow along, and I hope that you will immediately fall all over yourself to buy the full novel. Okay? Let’s begin.
This is just a teaser to get you hooked before we jack up the price, so you may not even have billions of thoughts yet. I love the lushness of the writing, I love how she establishes the very particular kind of careless happiness enjoyed by her protagonist, and, to be entirely honest, I am deeply, deeply relieved that her baby is not coming with her to whatever horrible place she’s about to be taken.
Talk to me! Also, how would you like us to go with these, generally? I’d like to meet back in two weeks to talk more, and I’ll update you soon with how far along we’ll be up to for then, but if you have questions for Roxane, or particular ideas you want to tease out, tell me.
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.