Somehow I missed this book in my Roxane Gay reading frenzy last year. Ayiti is a book of short stories published by a small press in 2011. I bet they're feeling good about their decision to publish Gay!
Many of the short stories are very short--like jabs. They all deal with Haitians and Haitian-Americans, addressing the beauty and misery of the country whose name is always followed in news stories, as Gay points out in "Gracias, Nicaragua" with "the poorest nation in the western hemisphere."
The third jab story packs an unintended extra punch with "...I was raised Catholic and have gained my inadequate understanding of [voodoo] from the Lisa Bonet movie that made Bill Cosby mad at her." Oh, paragon of virtue, Bill Cosby!
Gay writes from male and female voices, Haitian and Haitian American, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, all with just under the surface ferocity. "Things I Know About Fairy Tales," the story that became the novel An Untamed State, isn't as brutal as the longer version, but is devastating just the same.
What I wrote about Bad Feminist is true here, too, "That’s the heart of many of the essays, I think, that the things we love are never perfect." Gay has a love for the people of Haiti and of Haitian descent, but also soul-searing disappointment in how "everything in Port au Prince had a price." (quote from "Lacrimosa" about a woman who takes up with a Brazilian UN soldier who fills her house with spent tear gas canisters that her son uses as toys)