The Visiting Privilege

Joy Williams is aptly named for the joy she brings readers (along with twinges of sadness, awe, disbelief, amazement, smirks). This is being billed as the definitive collection of her short stories, along with a sheaf of new ones at the end that hold up under scrutiny along with the golden oldies. Warning: it’s impossible to read this book straight through on a rainy weekend hunkered down in a remote cabin– you feel compelled to shut the book after each delicate jewel of a story ends, taking deep breaths, eyes gazing out at the misty skies. I didn’t attempt to mark page that delighted me with usual dogeared fold, too herculean a task to mark every page for re-perusal. A single sample will have to do:

“Well, aren’t we going over there tonight to watch him?” Julep asked nervously, swinging her eyes heavily toward her friend. Looking often cost Julep a great deal of effort, as though her eyes were boxes of bricks she had to push around in front of her.

Nearly every story in the book is a knock-out punch, so that’s almost forty-six blows you must endure over 500 pages. It’s worth it.
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Reco’d via the NYT article forwarded by eagle-eyed microtragedy.