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ISBN 978-1-909585-20-1
First published October 2016; 128 pp; paperback with flaps; 198 x 129 mm
£8.99
Click here to read a pdf excerpt.
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.

 
 
Diane Williams  Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine

 

Shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize

Chosen as a Book of the Year in the New Statesman by Eimear McBride and John Mullan and by Andrew Gallix, Steven J Fowler and Tristan Foster as a ‘Top Read of 2016’ on 3:AM

Diane Williams has been publishing her wholly distinctive short fiction in the US for the past quarter century. CBe is proud to announce the first UK publication of her new book of stories.

‘Diane Williams is one of the true living heroes of the American avant-garde.’
     – Jonathan Franzen

 

‘[The work of Diane Williams] is not for first reading but for periodic immersions in a world perfectly real but strange.’ 
     – Frank Kermode

 

‘Williams’s stories are as short as they could be, but their latitude of implication is remarkable. [In them] manifold pleasures of recognition, surmise, divination, accrue to us.’ 
     – Denis Donoghue

 

‘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


‘Each story lasts half a page, one page, maybe three: it is a monologue, or a skewed fable, or an overheard conversation in a café. There are domestic scenes, comical relationship mishaps, exquisitely hinted pain, and funny titles ... Williams has often been called an “avant garde” writer, but that doesn’t mean these stories are hard to read or unentertaining. What she is brilliant at, though, is making language seem newly strange ... Williams’s exquisitely deadpan method can result in a story that evidently means something devastating but is so obliquely sketced that the moral is left tantalisingly out of reach.’
     – Steven Poole, Guardian (full review here)

‘Williams uses clichés and common turns of phrase with deliberate inappropriateness, so we can look at the world anew ... Each story contains, in essence, several stories; we can build up whole lives from the brief clues Williams gives us.’
     – Nicholas Lezard, Spectator (full review here)

‘These are stories of everyday life, but from sentence to sentence there are phenomenological shifts that both reveal and confound – much like life. Other avant-garde writers are pastiche-able because ultimately there is something contrived in their project. Not so here. No other writer so convinces us that while we might think the world looks similar to others, none of us really sees the world as others do.’
     – Neil Griffiths (Republic of Consciousness Prize longlist)

‘Reading this collection of short, short stories is, for anyone interested in literary form, like waking up in Wonderland. These micro-tales are made up of what seem, at first glance, to be series of awkwardly truncated sentences welded to a randomly selected collection of non sequiturs. Yet, on closer inspection, that rarely proves to be the case, and cumulatively each story somehow manges to encapsulate both the clarity and peculiarity of perspective. I “get it” and I don’t, simulataneously, and the book is all the more pleasurable for that.’
     – Eimear McBride, New Statesman Books of the Year

‘It’s fiction but it’s poetry too, as I’d deem it – full of expert twists on banal detail, mishearing, disjunction and play. Sophisticated and really funny.’
     – Steven J. Fowler, 3:AM Top Reads of 2016


From US reviews of Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine:

 

‘Nobody comes close to the American short story writer Diane Williams, perhaps because they’re too scared. Her gifts are curious and disturbing, yet paraded with exquisite calm . . . Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine [proves] that the uncanny is alive and well and living in her head. Williams conveys this reality in language that could be understood by a child, taking as her subject everyday troubles such as the difficulties and disorientations of intimacy, longing and family life. Her stories climb inside your mind and ask, in the words of one narrator, “Whose house is this?”’
    – Frieze

 

‘Though Williams eschews psychologizing and we only see her characters in flashes and hear their voices in a handful of sentences at most, there is a cumulative power across the book; a unifying spirit that’s desperate at times but never despairing, and once in a while joyous, even exuberant, like a veil lifted up to reveal an exclamation point.’
    – Christian Lorentzen, New York magazine

 

‘[Williams] examines what we think we’re hiding, the fissures between what we’re told we should feel and what we actually feel . . . In fragments or in their entirety – but never in summary – the stories in Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine reveal the muted anarchy beneath the civility of relations. Williams wrecks the domestic landscape by making us work to access that which we think we already get.’
    –
Los Angeles Review of Books

 

‘For all their opacity, these stories succeed in worrying the surfaces of everyday lives; in making the familiar dangerous and new. They are a minimalist caution against reduction and routine, and lay bare the conventions of a life with shocking clarity, artistry and glee.’
     –
Totally Dublin

 

‘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