How High?—That High

Diane Williams. Soho, $25 (128p) ISBN 978-1-64129-306-8
Williams (Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine) returns with a collection showcasing her mastery of succinct and suggestive stories. The pristine and opaque “Upper Loop” begins with a question: “I’m trying to think if there’s any reason for having fun anymore on any level?” Many of the stories seek to answer this by digging into the mundanity of aging. “Grief in Moderation” explores a woman’s loss of connection with her husband despite routine gestures of intimacy—a kiss, sharing a bed. The theme is explored further in “Feel and Hold,” which begins with observations from the narrators’ aging friends, the Rotches. They’d seen a vendor feeling and holding a cut of meat, and they contrast the action with their own lives (“When we hold a thing—I am not so sure we feel it”). Later, the narrator wryly observes of Mrs. Rotch: “Her heart gets so much assistance from a pacemaker that sometimes I think she is unable to die.” “Nick Should Be Fun to Be With” consists of snapshots of a couple’s fidelity and the dull blur of middle-class suburbia. 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. Agent: Alexis Hurley, InkWell Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/22/2021
Release date: 10/12/2021
Genre: Fiction
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