The Pequod Review:
Joy Williams's The Visiting Privilege is an exhilarating and surreal collection of 46 short stories, a “best of” pulled from three of her earlier books plus thirteen new pieces. Williams’s stories are uniformly intelligent and often very funny, and are so full of rich observations and ideas that you feel not just admiration but gratitude.
And she writes sentences with the wry precision of Don DeLillo:
She had been having a rough time of it and thought about suicide sometimes, but suicide was so corny in the eleventh grade and you had to be careful about this because two of her classmates had committed suicide the year before and between them they left twenty-four suicide notes and had become just a joke. They had left notes everywhere and they were full of misspellings and pretensions. Theirs had been a false show.
Daddy said that when you look death in the eye you want to do it as calmly as a stroller looks into a shop window. But Mommy never looked into shop windows like that. She looked into them with excitement and distress. Sometimes what Daddy said didn’t take Mommy into account.
She looked at the lamp. The lamp looked back at her as though it had no idea who she was.