About the book
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.
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
Powerful, important, compassionate, and full of dark humor. This is a book that will be reread with admiration and love many times over
Williams is a flawless writer, and The Visiting Privilege is a perfect book ... the rare collection that doesn't have a single story, even a single paragraph, that's less than brilliant
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