Excerpt from Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Ninety-Nine Stories of God

by Joy Williams

Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams X
Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2016, 220 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2018, 220 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

58

You should have changed if you wanted to remain yourself but you were afraid to change.

SARTRE TO CAMUS

59

"I want chiseled features," she said. "I would be so happy."

We were volunteers digging up fountain grass at the Ironwood Forest National Monument. Those were the first words she'd spoken. She was round and pale and not tall.

"You can get them," I said.

"Really?"

"Plastic surgery. Sure."

"They don't call it plastic surgery anymore," she said. "The Devil's going to be on TV tonight at seven. KGUN. It's not generally known but a fact nonetheless."

"Excuse me," I said. I moved away from her toward an old man chopping at a large clump of big, plump, vigorous, adaptable fountain grass with a hoe. But I left him shortly as well, fearing he might have a heart attack in the heat. He would have been offended by my concern, I felt. He probably wanted to die in the desert anyway, one of those people who wanted to die a clean, hard death in the desert.

He didn't look at all like my father, but I thought of my father, who was in Westerly, Rhode Island, living it up on dialysis. He wasn't going anywhere. There was so much wrong with him, so many things, but "I want the dialysis," he'd say. "Nobody's shoving me into that next room."

"Don't you want to know as you are known, standing before the Father's throne," I'd tease him. It's from a hymn called "Innocents." He used to be a pastor. "Nope," he'd say.

He's changed. People change. Even I have changed, though not much. But if I watched KGUN at seven and saw the Devil there, I'd be a different person.

LOOKING GOOD

60

The Lord was invited to a gala. Beautiful women, beautiful men, beautiful flowers. Astonishing music from that moment's finest string quartet. All that was served was champagne and mountains of Kamchatka caviar.

The hosts were somewhat nervous about the Lord's reaction to the caviar.

After all, the lives of many thousands of female wild salmon were sacrificed for their eggs, and the renewable potential of their offspring lost forever.

But the Lord never showed up.

PARTY

91

Each day brings something, she has decided, some little gift. It's important to recognize in every identity its particular light. We become what we behold.

To be honest, she thought of things when comprehended giving off a peculiar light but she had corrected herself with the word particular.

Her father had been a student of alcohol. From him she learned the beautiful word epitasis, which refers to the part of the play developing the main action and leading to the catastrophe.

THIS IS THE WAY THAT
NIGHT PASSES BY

  • 1

Excerpted from Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams. Copyright © 2016 by Joy Williams. Excerpted by permission of Tin House Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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