A Pulitzer-nominated author revered among literary circles, Joy Williams is nonetheless often overlooked by readers. Her third story collection, Honored Guest, is a magnificent showcase of her trenchant wit and staggering imagination, tempered by her minimalist sensibility. While the stories pivot around heavy topics — particularly coming to terms with a real or metaphorical death — they're wildly entertaining and unpredictable. The characters are often unruly and erratic and seem to have retreated into their own worlds, just barely connecting with others yet painfully aware of their estrangement. You'll find yourself astonished, disarmed, and, at times, baffled by these tales, but every story resonates, begging to be reread. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
With her singular brand of gorgeous dark humor, Joy Williams explores the various ways — comic, tragic, and unnerving — we seek to accommodate diminishment and loss. A masseuse breaks her rich client’s wrist bone, a friend visits at the hospital long after she is welcome, and a woman surrenders her husband to a creepily adoring student. From one of our most acclaimed writers, Honored Guest is a rich examination of our capacity for transformation and salvation.
“[Williams] balances horror and humor with uncanny skill and laces her stories with compassion....Her stories stick in the mind like burrs.” The Columbus Dispatch
“If Joy Williams’s publisher made cigarettes rather than story collections it would be required to slap a consumer warning on her latest collection, Honored Guest....[It’s] narcotic — alluring precisely because it is toxic, dangerous. And Williams is so good she merely has to wave her characters’ melancholia under our noses and we crave more.” The Philadelphia Inquirer
“The short stories in Joy Williams’s Honored Guest are so vibrant and alive they have heartbeats, the prose so electric and dazzling it makes the pulse race.” Vanity Fair
“By all means read, and re-read, these subtle and touching and deceptively funny and sometimes darkly magical stories.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A brilliant spawn of Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor, Joy Williams blends mordant wit, uncanny characters, and weirdly familiar landscapes and locales....By turns these narratives soothe, then surprise, then shock with jolts of recognition, recoil, and naked redemption.” Elle
“Joy Williams wastes not a word in the stories that she tells....Phenomenally interesting....Miraculously and intelligently weird.” Chicago Tribune
“In wonderful, stark relief, Williams gives us a glimpse into this pliability of the human heart, its marvelous ability to withstand adversity and accommodate whatever comes next.” Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Beautiful....Unsettling....[Contains] among the best American short stories of the past two decades.” The Atlantic Monthly
With her singular brand of gorgeous dark humor, Joy Williams explores the various ways--comic, tragic, and unnerving--we seek to accommodate diminishment and loss.
In short stories so vibrant and alive they have heartbeats, the prose so electric and dazzling it makes the pulse race (Vanity Fair), a masseuse breaks her rich client's wrist bone, a friend visits at the hospital long after she is welcome, and a woman surrenders her husband to a creepily adoring student.
From one of our most acclaimed writers, Honored Guest is a rich examination of our capacity for transformation and salvation.
About the Author
Joy Williams is the author of novels, collections of short stories, and Ill Nature, a book of essays that was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her novel The Quick and the Dead was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. Among her many honors are the Rea Award for the Short Story and the Strauss Living Fund from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was elected to the Academy in 2008. Williams lives in Tucson, Arizona, and Laramie, Wyoming.