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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 willful 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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kat on 05-30-14
Beautiful, But Disturbing.
"Untamed State" is beautifully, skillfully written and narrated. Roxane Gay creates such vivid, living--dying--characters that you're hooked almost from the beginning in SPITE of (not due to) the graphic subject matter. Although there's a lot of unspeakable violence throughout the novel, it is handled tastefully; you get the sense that the narrator is telling you this because it is necessary for you to hear, and for her to tell. You are not left feeling like a voyeur.
Robin Miles does a wonderful job with the narration. I'm no expert, but it seemed to me that her accents and character voices were right on target.
Fair warning: This book is not for the faint of heart, and it is EXTREMELY triggering. For me, personally, listening was sort of re-traumatizing, but also therapeutic. Listen at your own risk, and make sure there is at least one person you know whom you can talk to if necessary.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful
By BG853 on 09-25-14
Best book I've read in years!
An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay, is the story of a Haitian American lawyer who is kidnapped for ransom while visiting her parents in Haiti. Her father refuses to pay the ransom and her kidnappers turn ugly.
Couldn't stop listening. Despite horrific scenes, there is no gratuitous violence. The violence presented is necessary to understand the gradual breakdown of the heroine's spirit and her resulting PTSD. In addition Gay tempers the horror with flashbacks, perhaps because she understands just how much brutalization the reader can take at a time. The second half of the book deals with her PTSD and her fight to recover. (Not a spoiler - you are immediately aware that she is eventually freed.)
It is an amazing book which I highly recommend.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful