The Visiting Privilege (book)

The Visiting Privilege (Written by Joy Williams)/2015

I never really saw the point of short stories nor could I see the difference between short stories and novels. I thought short-stories were just short novels. However I have recently been enlightened by reading American author Joy Williams’ work The Visiting Privilege.

The Visiting Privilege is a collection of Joy Williams' new and old short stories set mostly among people living in rural America. Joy Williams stories are generally set in a humble background with simple people leading quiet lives. However they also capture the deeper and darker aspects of human mind that is drastically contrasted by peaceful and natural setting; voyeurism, domination, manipulation, abandonment – some intentionally, some driven by unconscious desires.

There is often unsettling and disturbing feeling to her stories that you can’t quite comprehend; they have the eeriness of a holiday house out in the middle of nowhere. I think she achieves this partly by exposing human behaviour in a way that is outside the normal social comfort zone. She portrays stalking school girls, an abusive and controlling dying person or an elegant alcoholic mother that you cannot help but admire for her tragic beauty.

Since reading Joy Williams’ work, I’ve come to realise that beauty of short stories are what could be suggested without having to have them written out fully. The artful subtlety in a good short story is like a titillation of a burlesque show. I would highly recommend Joy Williams especially if you’re a fan of short stories or want to explore the genre.

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