Some stories as short as one or two pages, they depict ordinary moments—a visit to the doctor's office or a married couple's hundredth dance together—but within the quotidian, there is a lifetime of insecurities, lusts, rejections, and revelations.
The aphoristic quality so often assigned to Williams’s work arises here not from a lack of 'story,' but from syntax and speed ... Williams is especially fond of making the familiar strange through inverted syntax ... Williams is today revered for composing through subtraction. I can’t help wondering if marriage, unlike fiction, necessarily suffers when exposed to similar techniques: Stripped of all the scenes that first brought two people together, relationships are reduced to fragile erotics ... At her best, Williams adopts a metafictional awareness of the scrutiny readers are likely to train on her not especially forthcoming leads ... Is leaving too much unsaid among those shortcomings? Maybe. But fiction ought to lead us to those precipices where language fails and silence begins. You would be well advised, with a master like Williams, to take the plunge.
Williams is a magician of the miniature ... Don’t let their diminutive stature fool you: These pieces pack a punch. Brief, elliptical, steeped in longing—or is that lust?—they offer slices of life that rely on interior more than exterior details, which is to say they are small road maps of the soul ... All the pieces here...are rigorous in both language and emotion, using nuance and inference to explore the implications, the contradictions, that people rarely share aloud ... Williams’ small gems are as dense and beautiful as diamonds, compressed from the carbon of daily life.
Williams returns with a collection showcasing her mastery of succinct and suggestive stories ... Williams’s prose evokes both strangeness and familiarity as she gets at the core of what it means to live into one’s later years. This is by no means for everyone, but it will surely satisfy fans of well-wrought fiction.