Initially fooled by the author’s name – I thought this book was by singer songwriter, solo artist, and half of The Civil Wars, Joy Williams – I accepted the offer to read Ninety-Nine Stories of God. Don’t take the book blurb too serious. Rather than focusing on the Supreme Being in 99 short stories, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Joy Williams (1944) is indeed “capturing both the absurdity and the darkness of everyday life.”
Yes, God is waiting, acting, not showing up at man-made parties, talking and laughing in Williams’ fictional plots. Scenes bring the O.J. Simpson case, Kafka and Tolstoy back to life, and among others many down to earth humans, pets, and thoughts. Misunderstandings, attempts to apply etymology and hermeneutics, sometimes boring, more often bringing me to laugh and think again. What about the pig who saved a man from drowning? “Would the pig have rescued the man if she had known that he and his companions had just enjoyed a picnic of ham sandwiches? The pig’s owner replied that pigs are intelligent, more intelligent than dogs, but they are not omniscient.” or “The Lord was asked if He believed in reincarnation. I do, He said. It explains so much. On your last Fourth of July festivities, I was invited to observe an annual hot-dog-eating contest, the Lord said, and it was the stupidest thing I’ve ever witnessed.”
In shorter than regular short fiction, some not more than a couple of sentences, bizarre and provoking thoughts, observations and situations are penned.
About the author
Joy Williams is the author of four novels, four previous story collections, and the book of essays Ill Nature. She’s been nominated for the National Book Award, The Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent title is The Visiting Privilege: New & Collected Stories. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and Laramie, Wyoming.