The Collected Stories of Diane Williams

Diane Williams

ISBN: 9781616959821

Published: October, 2018

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Hardcover $28.00

Diane Williams

New York City

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The Collected Stories of Diane Williams brings together over three hundred new and previously published short fictions—distilled works of “unsettling brilliance” (Vanity Fair) that have rewritten the rules of the American short story.

“Diane Williams has spent her long, prolific career concoct...

The Collected Stories of Diane Williams brings together over three hundred new and previously published short fictions—distilled works of “unsettling brilliance” (Vanity Fair) that have rewritten the rules of the American short story.

“Diane Williams has spent her long, prolific career concocting fictions of perfect strangeness, most of them no more than a page long. She’s a hero of the form: the sudden fiction, the flash fiction, whatever it’s being called these days. The stories are short. They defy logic. They thumb their nose at conventional sense, or even unconventional sense. But if sense is in short supply in these texts, that leaves more room for splendor and sorrow. These stories upend expectations and prize enigma and the uncanny above all else. The Williams epiphany should be patented, or bottled—on the other hand, it should also be regulated and maybe rationed, because it’s severe. It’s a rare feeling her stories trigger, but it’s a keen and deep and welcome one, the sort of feeling that wakes us up to complication and beauty and dissonance and fragility.”

–From Ben Marcus’ introduction to The Collected Stories of Diane Williams

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“I have always found Diane’s work to be intriguing and provocative in its departures from the societal norm or the expected. It is often bizarre and funny, sometimes disturbing.”
–Lydia Davis
“A pleasure for readers attentive to both language and story. Fans of flash fiction will want to study at the feet of this master of the form.”
—Kirkus Reviews
“Diane Williams is one of the true living heroes of the American avant-garde. Her fiction makes very familiar things very, very weird.”
—Jonathan Franzen
“She is one of the very few contemporary prose writers who seem to be doing something independent, energetic, heartfelt.”
—Lydia Davis
“One of America's most exciting violators of habit.”
—Los Angeles Times
“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
“Let's hear it for the magnificent Diane Williams, one of the wittiest and most exacting writers of our time. Her fictions are fervid endorsements of terrible, joyous life. But that's not quite right, because like all great literature, they are life.”
—Sam Lipsyte
“Diane Williams is hilarious, brilliant, eccentric, powerful, and, luckily, ours.”
—Deb Olin Unferth
“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
“[Williams'] details are always precise, and her masterful prose distills her fictional worlds down to bright, brief moments . . . We can feel 'the mysteries of daily life' pulsing through Williams’ keenly observed, contemplative tales.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“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." ”
—Los Angeles Times