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Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine
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Published:
McSweeney's 2016
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

One of Elle's "Must-Read Titles for Your Book Club." Chosen by The Millions and Flavorwire as one of the most-anticipated books of 2016.
The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called “folk tales that hammer like a nail gun," and these 40 new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funny.
Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams's spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fiction's grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/18/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781940450858
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Diane Williams. (2016). Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine. McSweeney's.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Diane Williams. 2016. Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine. McSweeney's.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Diane Williams, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine. McSweeney's, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Diane Williams. Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine. McSweeney's, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:24:04
Date Updated:
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OverDrive Product Record

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        Diane Williams is the author of eight books, including a collection of her selected stories. She is also the founder and editor of the literary annual NOON which is acclaimed both here and abroad.

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shortDescription

One of Elle's "Must-Read Titles for Your Book Club." Chosen by The Millions and Flavorwire as one of the most-anticipated books of 2016.
The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called “folk tales that hammer like a nail gun," and these 40 new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funny.
Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams's spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fiction's grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief.

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title
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fullDescription

One of Elle's "Must-Read Titles for Your Book Club." Chosen by The Millions and Flavorwire as one of the most-anticipated books of 2016.
The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called “folk tales that hammer like a nail gun," and these 40 new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funny.
Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams's spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fiction's grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: O, The Oprah Magazine
      • content: "[T]he hysterics in Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine have already fallen apart, and author Diane Williams catalogs their damage with avant-garde zeal... [Williams's] characters speak with such astonishing curiosity and independence that they stake out a space for themselves--where, fully alone and alive in language, they finally become free."
      • premium: False
      • source: Elle
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Tribune
      • content: "In a story called "The Great Passion and Its Context," one of Williams's 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."
      • premium: False
      • source: San Francisco Chronicle
      • content: "[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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Toronto Star
      • content: "Though she gets categorized as an experimental writer, Williams doesn't write the kind of cerebral, formally avant-garde fiction that dares readers to understand it. The 40(!) tales and vignettes packed into this very short volume are filled with moments of warmth and humor, even as they resist anything resembling a conventional narrative shape."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly (starred review)
      • content: "Surprising, funny, and evocative, the narratives in Williams's newest collection mine small instances for larger meanings. Despite their brevity, these 40 stories exhibit great depth... Each story is a swift burst of life that encourages repeated readings and opens new interpretations with each encounter. The collection draws its title from “A Little Bottle of Tears," about a married man reflecting on the trials of wedlock. He asks himself if vows can withstand infidelity and suppressed resentments. He answers his own question by repeating the word fine five times, each utterance potentially carrying a different meaning--much like how the moments described in this collection provide different insights when carefully reexamined. Once again, Williams's askew, precise prose demonstrates tremendous compassion and skill."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Paris Review
      • content: "Williams's compressed style means that a single story averages a page-and-a-half in length, forcing readers to engage with a fine-tooth comb. Tricks like the repetition of phonemes and non...
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from November 2, 2015
        Surprising, funny, and evocative, the narratives in Williams’s (Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty) newest collection mine small instances for larger meanings. Despite their brevity, these 40 stories exhibit great depth. They explore loneliness, passion, and the “mysteries of daily life.” The opening piece, “Beauty, Love and Vanity Itself” quickly establishes the theme and tone. In a digressive, conversational style, an unnamed narrator speaks of her longing for romance. She recalls former lovers and a shared moment with a stranger at a hotel pool that gave her a deeper understanding of her own life. In “Cinch,” a homeowner attempts to rid the yard of a gopher. In “Gulls,” a woman watches two birds collide in flight. “The Poet” depicts a woman trying to slice bread to feed hungry house pets. The detail and characterization warp the mundane into touching and haunting situations. Each story is a swift bursts of life that encourages repeated readings and opens new interpretations with each encounter. The collection draws its title from “A Little Bottle of Tears,” about a married man reflecting on the trials of wedlock. He asks himself if vows can withstand infidelity and suppressed resentments. He answers his own question by repeating the word fine five times, each utterance potentially carrying a different meaning—much like how the moments described in this collection provide different insights when carefully reexamined. Once again, Williams’s askew, precise prose demonstrates tremendous compassion and skill.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 15, 2015
        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. So it is that in the opening tale, the narrator, poolside at an Illinois Marriott, implores the lifeguard to notice that swimmers are drowning, to which he replies, "I don't speak Chinese." Is it that the swimmers are Mandarin or that the characters are swimming their way through a dream? In the next story, a woman, clad in a "boiled woolen cloak," dies on a roadway, occasioning the observation on the part of our narrator that "her facial features are remarkably symmetrical, expressing vigor and vulnerability." Even when Williams' characters are engaged in more or less quotidian acts, from washing the dishes to pleasuring a partner, there is an element of jerky oddness to their behavior, as if they were imperfectly programmed robots or ghosts--in short, ordinary humans, clumsily self-absorbed. Williams writes precise, elegant, and usually very short sentences, building a story piece by piece and conveying a great deal with just a few details; in the shortest of the pieces, weighing in at just 48 words, a woman on the way to drowning--and not a Chinese speaker this time--marvels that the water of the ocean "tasted like a cold, salty variety of her favorite payang congou tea." The most perfect non sequitur? "My fault. Go fuck herself." A little goes a long way: this is a book to sip from, not to devour whole. 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. Not everyone's cup of tea to be sure, but a pleasing foray in short-short fiction.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        January 1, 2016
        Williams (Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty, 2012) is true to her signature form in her newest collection, in which 40 very brief stories strike with precision. Her characters are beleaguered and bewildered by everyday life and all that goes with it: relationships, marriage, aging, and death. In A Mere Flask Poured Out, an accidental spill of wine exposes the tension between parent and child. A Gray Pottery Head portrays a woman whose last moments on earth are preceded by a seemingly mundane arrangement on a mantle. Encompassing interactions both vast and intimate, Williams' tales feature characters who pine for attention while others confront their shifting lives. In The Romantic Life, the narrator is staying with a beloved aunt and is visited by a ghost, Gunther, as well as by Gunther's long-dead dog. In Greed, a family lays claim to a deceased matriarch's jewelry by shouting out their ownership over each pile of gems. Williams' avant-garde stories explore the faulty power of the mind as well as the delusions we embrace to keep moving forward.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

popularity
76
publisher
McSweeney's
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