Katy Waldman at The New Yorker:
You don’t encounter the fiction of Joy Williams without experiencing a measure of bewilderment. Williams, one of the country’s best living writers of the short story, draws praise from titans such as George Saunders, Don DeLillo, and Lauren Groff, and many of her readers, having imprinted on her wayward phrasing and screwball characters, will follow her anywhere. But the route can be disorienting, like climbing an uneven staircase in a dream. Her tales offer a dark, provisional illumination, and they make the kind of sense that disperses upon waking. For years, Williams has worn sunglasses at all hours, as if to blacken her vision. The central subject of art, she has written, is “nothingness.”
Williams is now seventy-nine. In her stories, and in her five novels, she opens cracks in reality, through which issue ghosts, clairvoyants, changelings, and suffering.