The Visiting Privilege
Joy Williams' peerless short stories are unlike anything else. Her uniquely devastating, emotionally acute, morbidly funny portrayals of modern life have been captivating readers and writers for three decades. Here, for the first time, Williams' thirty-three best stories are available in a single volume, together with thirteen new stories that show a writer continuing to mould the form into something strange and new.Triangulate a patch of uncharted territory between Lydia Davis, Raymond Carver and Don DeLillo, and somewhere there you'll find Williams at work. Real but surreal, bleak but funny, domestic but dangerous, familiar but enigmatic, her stories fray away the fabric at the very edge of ordinary experience to reveal the buzzing, transient, empty loneliness of human life.In 'The Lover', a girl suffers a spiritual and physical wasting away; in 'The Visiting Privilege', a visitor finds refuge in her friend's psychiatric ward; in 'Charity', a woman gives a poor family gas money and finds herself marooned in their peculiar world; in 'Another Season' an itinerant man cleanses an island of roadkill; in 'Craving' an alcoholic couple head towards a car crash.The forty-six flawless stories collected in The Visiting Privilege represent the culmination of Williams' career and cement her place as the most singular artist of short fiction writing today.
These incomparable stories received rapturous reviews and appeared in multiple 'Books of the Year' lists - now in paperback
Perhaps the greatest living master of the short story ... easily taking her place among the ranks of Mavis Gallant, Flannery O'Connor, Grace Paley, John Cheever and Raymond Carver -- Neel Mukherjee * Guardian Books of the Year * Joy Williams is a stone-cold 100% American original ... a treasure trove of high-octane prose and surreal wit -- Rupert Thomson * Herald Books of the Year * An electric and dangerously human volume -- Philip Hensher * Spectator Books of the Year * The literary heir to Anton Chekhov * Washington Post * Williams is a flawless writer, and The Visiting Privilege is a perfect book * NPR * Joy Williams is simply a wonder -- Raymond Carver She belongs in the company of Celine and Flannery O'Connor -- James Salter How to tell the story of a 500-page collection of stories spanning more than 40 years? Especially when I really want to just exclaim, "Oh, Oh, OH!" in a state of steadily mounting rapture -- Geoff Dyer * Observer * The Visiting Privilege cements Williams's position not merely as one of the great writers of her generation, but as our pre-eminent bard of humanity's insignificance * New York Times Magazine * Powerful, important, compassionate, and full of dark humor. This is a book that will be reread with admiration and love many times over * Vanity Fair * One of the most fearless, abyss-embracing literary projects our literature has seen ... ruthless, hilarious work that holds our human folly to the fire ... you can't much pin Joy Williams down with any obvious dark masters. She is American and contemporary and strange, comfortable in the skin of domestic realism, even if that mode is a kind of misleading costume for a far more sinister project not often seen in American, or any, short fiction -- Ben Marcus * New York Times Book Review * Deep, dazzling, disconcerting -- Adam Foulds Dark, funny, spare and unsparing ... wonderful ... Williams is fully alive to the tragicomedy of our transient lives. -- Eithne Farry * Sunday Express * Revisiting the edgy, perceptive, provocative stories of Joy Williams make The Visiting Privilege a celebration. From the opening story, 'Taking Care', Williams confirms her ironic pathos and consummate timing, and rarely falters. -- Eileen Battersby * Irish Times * Williams's short stories portray the edges of modern life in vivid, staccato detail and make for compelling reading. The narrative threads move forward in unpredictable, exciting and often unsettling detail. * Guardian, readers' BOTY 2016 * One of the great American short story writers -- Jay McInerney The bright-bleak grand master of short stories -- Lauren Groff * New Yorker *
Joy Williams is the author of four novels - the most recent, The Quick and the Dead, was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 - and three collections of stories, as well as Ill Nature, a book of essays that was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Among her many honours are the Rea Award for the Short Story and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and Laramie, Wyoming.