4.5/5 Stars.

I’m in awe of Roxane Gay. If this collection had gone on forever I would never grow tired of it. It contains the depths of the human condition in all its darkness, loneliness, quirkiness and indecency.

These are stories about people (mostly women) seeking to fill their hollow spaces however they can. They’re gritty and direct and real and utterly devoid of sentimentality. Gay’s characters accept life for what it is—all its ugliness, all its complexity—and there’s something strangely refreshing and comforting about that.

The subject matter is demanding and unrelenting; this is not a happy collection, though it’s by no means maudlin. Being human isn’t pretty, but there’s beauty in that. If that statement resonates with you, so too will these fierce, gutting stories.

Estar contigo es como estar en un paisaje fantástico. Crees que es un bosque, y de pronto cambia y es un prado, una selva o o un acantilado de hielo. Todo es bonito, pero también extraño, y no dispongo de mapa, y no entiendo cómo se pasa de un terreno a otro de forma tan brusca, y no sé cuándo ni que vendrá después, y no tengo el equipo necesario. De modo que hay seguir avanzando, intentando adaptarse sobre la marcha, sin saber en realidad lo que estás haciendo, y a menudo se cometen errores, errores graves.
—  Tan poca vida, Hanya Yanagihara.

No man in the New City could love her as Hatcher did - of that Alice was certain. It was deep an all-consuming but somehow never suffocating. It was unselfish. It did not ask for anything and yet he made no secret of his need. There was no one in the world like Hatcher, and if she hadn’t been mad, there would be no Hatcher for her.

All relationships have ups and downs. Romantic fantasy often nurtures the belief that difficulties and down times are an indication of a lack of love rather than part of the process. In actuality, true love thrives on difficulties. The foundation of such love is the assumption that we want to grow and expand, to become more fully ourselves. There is no change that does not bring with it a feeling of challenge and loss.
—  all about love | bell hooks
To everyone who tells readers to get a life:

1. Don’t tell people what to do
2. Do you know how many fantasies and worlds open up from a single book? You live through so many people. Feel the same way. It’s an incredible feeling, and I feel sorry for people too ignorant to feel it. I have went into so many different worlds, and these worlds were a gettaway for me when, well, when I needed one. So in a way, readers do have lives, more than one.