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Ninety-Nine Stories of God
by Joy Williams
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Seldom occupying more than a couple of pages, Williams' stories are headed by a number, one to 99, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist has a one-of-a-kind gift for capturing both the absurdity and the darkness of everyday life. In Ninety-Nine Stories of God, she takes on one of mankind's most confounding preoccupations: the Supreme Being. This series of short, fictional vignettes explores our day-to-day interactions with an ever-elusive and arbitrary God. It's the Book of Common Prayer as seen through a looking glass--a powerfully vivid collection of seemingly random life moments. The figures that haunt these stories range from Kafka (talking to a fish) to the Aztecs, Tolstoy to Abraham and Sarah, O.J. Simpson to a pack of wolves. Most of Williams' characters, however, are like the rest of us: anonymous strivers and bumblers who brush up against God in the least expected places or go searching for him when he's standing right there. The Lord shows up at a hot-dog-eating contest, a demolition derby, a formal gala, and a drugstore, where he's in line to get a shingles vaccination. At turns comic and yearning, lyric and aphoristic, Ninety-Nine Stories of God serves as a pure distillation of one of our great artists.
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