The founder and editor of celebrated avant-garde literary annual NOON has crafted an array of opalescent flecks that glimmer in the periphery, dazzling when you least expect it. Williams exhibits fine-tuned precision and lapidary restraint to produce a work that is both timeless and an undeniable product of the current moment. She is an artist operating at the peak of her powers. Recommended By Justin W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called "folk tales that hammer like a nail gun," and these 39 new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funnyeven though within these covers a mother dies, an illicit love affair is revealed, a ghost pays a visit, and police are called to the scene.
Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams's spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fictions grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief.
Surprising funny and evocative the narratives in Williams’s (Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty) newest collection mine small instances for larger meanings. Despite their brevity these 40 stories exhibit great depth. They explore loneliness passion and the “mysteries of daily life.” The opening piece “Beauty Love and Vanity Itself” quickly establishes the theme and tone. In a digressive conversational style an unnamed narrator speaks of her longing for romance. She recalls former lovers and a shared moment with a stranger at a hotel pool that gave her a deeper understanding of her own life. In “Cinch” a homeowner attempts to rid the yard of a gopher. In “Gulls” a woman watches two birds collide in flight. “The Poet” depicts a woman trying to slice bread to feed hungry house pets. The detail and characterization warp the mundane into touching and haunting situations. Each story is a swift bursts of life that encourages repeated readings and opens new interpretations with each encounter. The collection draws its title from “A Little Bottle of Tears” about a married man reflecting on the trials of wedlock. He asks himself if vows can withstand infidelity and suppressed resentments. He answers his own question by repeating the word fine five times each utterance potentially carrying a different meaning—much like how the moments described in this collection provide different insights when carefully reexamined. Once again Williams’s askew precise prose demonstrates tremendous compassion and skill. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"Williams renders every single word like a prism of implication, and she stretches the space between sentences as wide as chapter breaks, while the sentences themselves somehow read like stand-alone stories. The density of her writing warrants a closer reading than most fiction because it also reads like superb poetry, just casual and fluid and lilting between verse and improvised speech." Zyzzyva
"Centrifugal stories, supershort and superpithy, by avant-gardist Williams. In Williams’ stories, a non sequitur has the same weight as an ordinary logical proposition, as if to suggest that either we are very illogical creatures indeed or that no one is really listening to anyone else anyway… Charged with meaning, every word carrying more than its weight, this is a series of provocations inviting us to look at the world a little differently from before." Kirkus Reviews
"The whip-quick snapshots in Diane Williams’s Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine pack a sizable punch; to read is to tread unstable ground. Discomfitingly and devastatingly funny, Williams upends the mundane, the painful, and the unusual, resulting—much in the way an art teacher might ask her class to copy a photograph upside-down—in precision and clarity." Elle
"Surprising, funny, and evocative, the narratives in Williams’s newest collection mine small instances for larger meanings… Once again, Williams’s askew, precise prose demonstrates tremendous compassion and skill." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"A taut collection of flash fictions that are often beautiful but impenetrable, structured like little riddles to unspool. While it is easy to compare Williams’s work to that of Lydia Davis, another expert writer of absurdist shorts, this collection stands in its own category as defiantly whimsical and weird… Williams creates stories that can be consumed in small bites. But she provides enough material in each to chew over for an entire meal." The New York Times
"Her work is certainly odd, but it’s also poetic, passionate, and precisely crafted. Her strange voices linger in the mind. Part of the pleasure of reading Williams is you have no idea what’s coming next. Don’t fret. These marvelous stories do have a beginning, middle and an end—just not necessarily in that order." The Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Diane Williams is the author of eight books, including a collection of her selected stories. She is also the founder and editor of the literary annual NOON
which is acclaimed both here and abroad. She lives in New York City.