$33.00 $29.00

The Diane Williams Bundle delivers two crucial works from the author dubbed “one of America’s most exciting violators of habit” by the LA Times. These two sharp-tonged, precise, and fearlessly original collections of short stories churn and twist and slither away the second you think you’ve nailed them down. Together, Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty and the more recent Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine will flood your mind with 90 stories that will almost certainly impair your vision and recalibrate your proprioception and send you back for another read.

Praise for Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine:

“In a story called “The Great Passion and Its Context,” one of Williams’ narrators stands on public transportation with an injured foot, anxiously echoing Markun: “What’s still to come?—a warm flat landscape?—a shallow swimming pool?—the complete ruin of her health?—her absolute devotion to anyone?” The only answer comes in the form of children singing a duet three rows ahead of her: “They offer their share of resistance to you name it!—in a remote and difficult key, and in poor taste artistically.” If you can hold onto some vestige of poignancy in the face of that ironic exclamation mark and deflating final clause, you’ve found your new favorite writer. Williams has been plumbing this territory for decades—she’s published eight books before this one—and her confidence with language is frankly unnerving. She makes it jump through hoops, and a reader had better be willing to follow.” —The Chicago Tribune

“A taut collection of 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

“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.” —The Los Angeles Times

“Surprising, funny, and evocative, the narratives in Williams’s newest collection mine small instances for larger meanings… Once again, Williams’s askew, precise prose demonstrates tremendous compassion and skill.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Perhaps the finest collection of 40 stories since Donald Barthelme, Williams lights this one up with tremendous humor and wit.” —Flavorwire

“Centrifugal stories, supershort and superpithy, by avant-gardist Williams. In Williams’ stories, a non sequitur has the same weight as an ordinary logical proposition, as if to suggest that either we are very illogical creatures indeed or that no one is really listening to anyone else anyway… Charged with meaning, every word carrying more than its weight, this is a series of provocations inviting us to look at the world a little differently from before.” —Kirkus

“The whip-quick snapshots in Diane Williams’s Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine pack a sizable punch; to read is to tread unstable ground. 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

“”The death of metaphors, the pruning or framing of ridiculous language: much of this marks the fiction of Diane Williams, one of our most persistent side-eyers of realism over the last twenty-five years. This [is] to say that where Balzac or Dickens—those paradigmatic authors of 21st century TV realism—go deep, Williams instead lingers on surfaces. Where they work to build houses for the reader to enter into and reside in, Williams works alongside them, constructing an edifice that estranges the neighborhood, a home that only looks familiar insofar as it has one window and a doorknob… This also proves why Jonathan Franzen, the godhead of televisual prose, describes Williams’ fiction like this: ‘Her fiction makes very familiar things very, very weird.’ He can’t stop himself from transcribing her work into comfortable, realist terms, but when he can’t pay the word ‘weird’ a high enough wage, he has to bring in ‘very’ twice to finish the job.” —Flavorwire

“Williams’s short stories operate according to the principles of Viktor Shklovsky’s ostranenie: making strange in order to reveal the ordinary anew. They are dense and dazzling oddities with an ear for patois and steeped deeply in the uncanny. Darkness and desire and despair and longing and schadenfreude and judgment roil just below the surface of seemingly pleasant exchanges, and, in their telling, subvert the reader’s expectations of just how a story unfolds.” —The Millions

“Forty very brief stories strike with precision… Encompassing interactions both vast and intimate… Williams’s avant-garde stories explore the faulty power of the mind as well as the delusions we cling to to keep moving forward.” —Booklist

Praise for Diane Williams:

“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

“The uncanny has met its ideal delivery system: the stories of Diane Williams.” —Ben Marcus

“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. Well, you figure it out.” —Sam Lipsyte

“Diane Williams is hilarious, brilliant, eccentric, powerful, and, luckily, ours.” —Deb Olin Unferth

“One of America’s most exciting violators of habit.” —Los Angeles Times

“However comfortable you may be with the avant-garde, you’re probably not too cool to admit you wouldn’t know a modern-day “Ulysses” if it bit you. Diane Williams’s new experimental work attempts something far more rude.” —The New York Times

Praise for Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty:

“Williams’s book is populated with heartbreak, affairs, and death, and however mystifying passages can be, the author has a sly humor that cuts through everything else. Equal parts satisfying, mysterious, thoughtful, and quick.” —Publishers Weekly

“‘Vicky Swanky’ is Williams at her best, shaking us awake again to the persistent strangeness of human life.” —Jenny Hendrix, The Boston Globe

“The shorts in Diane Williams’s Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty emit an unsettling brilliance, becoming, on repeated readings, even stranger and more revelatory.” —Vanity Fair

“To read these delightful stories is simply to drop in on random encounters as they are occurring—tense, awkward, jokey, fraught.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

“Even without the cameo appearances by the character ‘Diane Williams,’ it’s unlikely that anyone who’s attempted to tease apart a handful of Williams’s stories will forget her linguistic precision, the ways she whittles sentences into solid gems, or her wonderfully strange way of seeing.” —The Millions

“Dark, strange and revelatory.” —Time Out New York

“True to her reputation, these are refined stories possessing many hallmarks of [Diane Williams’s] past work: sharp dialogue fraught with tension, highly agile shifts in perspective, acerbic humour, and the ability to surprise without reducing the form too often to a gimmick or a stunt.” —The National “In Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty, we are reminded that Diane Williams is a brilliant writer and that there is absolutely nothing preordained in this world, which is sometimes a truly great thing.” —Bomb