Short sighted

04 January 2017 | by Gregory Wolfe


The Visiting Privilege

Being called a “writer’s writer” is usually the kiss of death for authors, at least in terms of sales. The dust jackets of American fiction writer Joy Williams’ books are jammed with praise from such literary luminaries as Raymond Carver and Ann Beattie, Rick Moody and Bret Easton Ellis. But Williams may be on the verge of escaping that fate.

For readers in North America, the publication of The Visiting Privilege, her new and collected stories, has been an opportunity to step back and suddenly see from a distance, as it were, the brilliant if elusive vision that has been there all along. For readers in  the UK, where it has just appeared, it will serve as an excellent introduction to her work. And in fact, the closest analogies to Williams’ particular brand of deadpan irony might be found among British satirists such as Evelyn Waugh, Muriel Spark and Alice Thomas Ellis.

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