Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.
Whether Roxane Gay is writing fiction or essays and memoir, it often seems as if there’s no territory she can’t make her own, turning her sharp insight and wry humor from feminism and gender politics and sex to literary criticism and television and movies and other points of pop culture. The title of her acclaimed, bestselling essay collection, Bad Feminist, started as a joke for her — but soon became something of a badge of honor, and a touchstone for a generation of readers. In her work she uses candor to pull into the light of day a familiar but often repressed jumble of desires, insecurities, anxieties, fears, and feelings–the messy stuff of life that many might prefer to shove in a box under the bed. She joined Miwa Messer on the podcast to talk about what drove her to write her first book-length memoir, Hunger.
“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”
New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.
With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.
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