Read The Quick and the Dead by Joy Williams Online


Misanthropic Alice is a budding eco-terrorist; Corvus has dedicated herself to mourning; Annabel is desperate to pursue an ordinary American life of indulgences. Misfit and motherless, they share an American desert summer of darkly illuminating signs and portents. In locales as mirrored strange as a nursing home where the living dead are preserved, to a wildlife museum wheMisanthropic Alice is a budding eco-terrorist; Corvus has dedicated herself to mourning; Annabel is desperate to pursue an ordinary American life of indulgences. Misfit and motherless, they share an American desert summer of darkly illuminating signs and portents. In locales as mirrored strange as a nursing home where the living dead are preserved, to a wildlife museum where the dead are presented as living, the girls attend to their future. A remarkable attendant cast of characters, including a stroke survivor whose soulmate is a vivisected monkey, an aging big-game hunter who finds spiritual renewal in his infatuation with an eight-year-old–the formidable Emily Bliss Pickles–and a widower whose wife continues to harangue him, populate this gloriously funny and wonderfully serious novel where the dead are forever infusing the living, and all creatures strive to participate in eternity....

Title : The Quick and the Dead
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780375727641
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Quick and the Dead Reviews

  • Mariel
    2019-05-20 22:24

    I liked The Quick and the Dead a whole lot. I like it for the things that are hard to describe why I liked it a lot. Like, all of the characters, every single last one of them, speak as if they are in a novel where everyone speaks like they are in a novel. This could have irritated the fuck out of me. I hate it when authors use their characters to tell people about all of the stuff they wanted to say and never found one big place to do it all before. I really hate, pretty much more than anything else an author could do, when they just tell us what it is they want to say instead of doing it where I'll get to feel like a human being interacting with the precious innermost thoughts and feelings of other human beings (and animals). This happens in The Quick and the Dead BIG TIME. Even when they were five. If I was in a different mood I could have gone off and felt sour comparing five year old me to five year old Corvus. It's a pain in the ass to be me when it's touch and go if you can relate to book characters. If they are just too precious for words and I want to die because I could never live where they live. Well, I was in luck. This Arizona (and some even live in the same shitty state as I do, at times. Yes!) sucks. They are in an unforgiving painting that some dude copied off another dude on tv and planted on a cheap hotel wall in some dead end town (a cul de sac, even worse).So it is messy and you step out of it a lot for people to say big time stuff. It's about big time stuff like being dead, too. Throwing yourself and stopping to look to see if you're doing right based on how the other assholes are doing it.I loved that out of the messy and taking time to look meaningful times there are getting to know them stuff that seeps through the cracks or seams. I should say something like looking into the eyes of the dead armadillo (I've seen more of those than anyone should ever have to) on the side of the road as you drive past. This is that kind of atmospheric and Williams would absolutely care about the dead armadillo on the side of the road. [The precociously loveable and annoyingly precocious eight year old Emily stages a wonderful protest over the museum of stuffed animals. That's right! Because only evil people think that animals should be killed and stuffed for their entertainment! The proprietor objects to the last line in her protest poem. I thought it should have likened him to Hitler, or something.]I loved that in between all of the posturing you get to see how it is hard to maintain the pose. There isn't glamour in being soul sick, grieved, crazy and wanting someone to follow you to somewhere else so you can like how you look better in the latest stance. Yeah, the stuff about the mouth pieces of the dead and are gonna die (that's all of us) didn't move me as much as what they already had to go through. I considered the bitter ghost Ginger to be a boring subplot until I realized near the end that she wasn't, er, a subplot. I don't care if The Quick and the Dead was about that. Williams can write as pretty as about any author I can think of. And I don't care about that and I love her even more for that. I was there for the ones that I couldn't help but care about. I will be there for everything Joy Williams has ever written if I get to be there like that. The way Alice sees herself juxtaposed with how (astute in a materialistic way) Anabel sees her (scary). Corvus' grief, held up as needed strength by Alice (it was downright touching how she reveres her) and is she going to break to everyone else. Lying inbetween each other. Ideals and ideas aloud to where they become those birthdway wishes spoken too soon. Everybody talking and talking and you can hear who isn't listening. I was really impressed with how Williams did this in spite of all the mouth piece stuff that I usually hate sooooo much. And she does it with nearly every apparition in the scene. P.s. This is the third novel that centers around an old folk's home I've read about in a couple of months. Maybe my neighbors are influencing my reading choices with subliminal messages.P.s.s. I read on wikipedia that Williams used to teach creative writing right where I live. I don't know if I like that. I'm going to imagine her students as these flip flop wearing t-shirted fools who only care about writing pretty. I wonder what she told them. I don't know if you could teach the good things about Joy Williams. Oh, and she wrote a book about Florida natural history. I'm definitely going to read that (she has my interests!). Okay, so that was an exciting wikipedia research day. P.s.s.s. Alice reminds me of my friend and I don't mean that she killed all of those cats.

  • Tony
    2019-05-06 02:12

    Those of you who liked Joy Williams' short stories (see, eg.,The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories) should also like this novel. It's almost as if there are running stories spliced together here. And I mean that in a good way. There are familiar themes, settings, vignettes: an old age home, plenty of dogs, marriages crumbling or already crumbled, precocious children. Read this and you will recognize that we are all a little off. I do not think that Joy Williams would find me inappropriate; or, yes, inappropriate, but what else are we going to fill this zoo with.The cover (at least of the hardbound edition) is bizarre enough that you can't say you weren't warned. And the title enigmatically warns that there will be death, a lot of death; although Williams is often amused by it. The county coroner, who had arrived with the ambulance, was not of the school that fed the foolish hope that a person could die instantly. Neither conciliatory nor compassionate, he had been educated by Jesuits and as such might as well have been raised by wolves.At its core, the plot is about three teenage girls (a not quite harmless-looking group . . .) who, prior to meeting each other, lost their mothers, although one mother, Ginger, comes back nightly to torment her husband. This running dialogue and storyline will probably be the highlight of my reading year.Things pop up when reading Joy Williams: snippets of philosophy and little primers on suicide, animal husbandry, medical conditions, botany. Plants were lucky because when they adapted it wasn't considered a compromise. It was more difficult for a human being, a girl.Williams has this remarkable sense of detail. A couple can be having lunch in restaurant in the Arizona desert, the temperature 110 outside, but there on the wall, above their table is The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church:[image error]By Frederic Edwin Church - Dallas Museum of Art Uncrated, Public Domain, Link"/>(Church added the wrecked masthead after no one liked the original painting. Now you know too.)Emily, who is not one of the group of three girls, tells a man who asks if she is eight or nine that she is "a mature eight." She watches her still-alive mother spilling the dense gray matter in the vacuum bag over the living room floor:"You're supposed to change that when it's no more than two-thirds full," she said. "Otherwise, you'll damage the machine. Steward, my colleague at school, the one who's retarded and likes to vacuum, he told me that.""You don't have colleagues, you have classmates," her mother said. "Where does all this shit come from?"There is dialogue like that on almost every page.So, yes, this is highly recommended for the irreverent, the afternoon drinker, the sayer of inappropriate things.You know who you are.

  • Nate D
    2019-05-03 20:56

    As Mariel approved and MJ disparaged, this is book full of lines delivered like lines in a novel (or film) where people speak as if they're in a novel (or film). Which might bug you. But to me, really, who needs naturalism? These lines each shine (the action too, not just the dialogue) like perfect fragments pithily conveying the absurdity of life and the moments that define it. It might all become a directionless wash of clever observations, but for the Joy Williams' ability to suffuse the entire thing with the nearness of death. Here, in the desert, characters dance along the edge of the mortal world, some crossing over, some sending back missives, everyone living their days in its shadow. And some live in both worlds simultaneously, like the lost souls in the limbo of the Green Palms retirement home. Joy Williams' voice and thematic single-mindedness really hold this together into something cohesive and essential, funny and desperate.Now to immediately follow this with a very different contemplation of death: The Necrophiliac.

  • Adam
    2019-05-23 22:16

    I discovered Williams from an intro she did for Jane Bowles, so this may color my review slightly. But Williams is the heir apparent to the twisted comic crown once (briefly) worn by Bowles (who someone once called “the Buxter Poindexter of prose”). But like Bowles she is sui generis, but they definitely travel in the same park. Insane characters revealing themselves with deadpan confessions delivered in stylized dialogue is the main show here. The elliptical “plot” or “structure” is as open ended as “Two Serious Ladies”, and somewhat resembles a short story cycle with overlapping characters and themes. She puts enough ideas for several books by a lesser writer (and an arguably more restrained one) in an errant description or stray line of dialogue. But editing would have lost us even a moment of this odyssey through a rogues gallery of American impulses, obsessions, anxieties, and grotesques; a deluge of surreal banter and lunatics.

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-05-07 23:15

    I tried 50pp of this novel but couldn’t find much to cling to. I think Mariel nails it in her review: the characters speak as if they were in a novel where everyone speaks as if they’re in a novel. I also found the prose heavy with those carefully crafted profound-sounding sentences where the author imparts profound sentiments in profound-sounding prose, where they reader is asked to step back and say, woah . . . heavy! This sounds churlish. I know. I loved some of these sentences but there was no emotional or intellectual connective tissue for me, i.e. the characters were ideologic constructs not people, and the profound sentiments built into the prose around them seemed to be searching for revelations about corporeal suffering or a deep internal trauma. So I needed to be closer to these people, I needed some semblance of reality to cling to. Instead I was being invited into a surreal Limbo not entirely unlike Flann O’Brien’s cyclical Hell in The Third Policeman—from what I inferred, the book will go on to paint a broader canvas of death and spirituality, only without the bicycles. But I only managed 50pp. The humour wasn’t something I responded too either. Plus only yesterday I read a novel with precocious children at the centre. Two in a row is tough. Apologies to Mariel.

  • Josh Friedlander
    2019-05-13 02:55

    The fifth-highest community review of this book on Goodreads is by a gentleman who awarded it one star, alluding to its "lack of plot" and comparing it unfavourably to "Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series". I don't generally like to belittle other people's opinions, or to play the intellectual snobbery game, so I'll just note that the reader in question wasn't the target audience for this book, and might more profitably be directed toward a different section of the library altogether. But a wider statement about society on the whole being not quite clever enough, or reflective enough, to appreciate Joy Williams's caustic genius, wouldn't be out of place when reviewing a book sizzling with barely tamped down misanthropic rage.At heart, this is something like an environmentalist novel, although its bleak vision doesn't really allow for messages of any type. It simply mirrors an America full of fast-food chains and tchotchkas, addicted to television and oblivious to death. It sprawls over natural habitats with tarmac and air-conditioning, placing its non-human victims in abattoirs, shelters or museums, while congratulating itself for its sophistication, drunk with venal stupidity. Ms. Williams's cool, precise prose combines Don DeLillo's alien-like coldness with Hunter S. Thompson's righteous anger. The book's major characters are all teenage girls who have suffered tragedy. Alice, orphaned, lives with her slightly batty grandparents. Corvus's parents have drowned. Annabel has recently lost her mother in a car crash, and her father (the focus of the book's wittiest and most merciless scenes) is haunted by his late wife's ghost, who takes pleasure in running him down and ridiculing his budding romance with his gardener, Donald. In another side plot, an eight-year-old girl named Emily Bliss Pickless (sic) accidentally blows off her mother's boyfriend's genitals (and buries them) and befriends a billionaire.Plot exposition seems like a waste of time here, though: what makes this book so great is how funny it is, and its trenchant, subtle intelligence. Classical references abound. Two cryptic passages begin parts one and three, providing plenty of symbolism for those keen to look deeper. Every page flows with a patter of sparkling one-liners which probe through modern day humanity's delusions of success, and skewer the bromides which make us feel we are special, kind gifts to this planet. An aide at a retirement home for the especially decrepit, Nurse Daisy, encapsulates the book's theme in her stilted, oracular way:“It’s better to be dumb,” the nurse said, “than to speak from a heart that’s all darkness and distraction. I’m agreeing with you. I suppose we should go in. Are you ready to enter our little charnel community, not as docent or guide but as a living member? Do you vow to keep your wits among the witless? Do you commit yourself to pondering ceaselessly the uselessness of caring, the uselessness of love, that great reality for which all else must be abandoned?”

  • Sean
    2019-05-17 02:07

    Having previously read and very much enjoyed some of Joy Williams’s short fiction, I’d been looking forward to reading this novel for a number of years. I’m not sure why it took me this long to reach for it (well, okay, books just tend to get buried in tbr lists). The central characters are a trio of teenage girls (Alice, Annabel, and Corvus), all three of them motherless and two of them parentless altogether. They are all portrayed in a somewhat one-dimensional way, each of them uniquely distant from her surroundings. These young women carry space around them that no one can fully penetrate, despite many varied attempts, both by each other and by the other people in their lives. Largely the book dwells on death, grief, and the ability to move past it or not. Characters either are obsessed with death, live isolated lives as a result of death, or quite simply die themselves.It’s an odd book. At times it read to me like it was written by a skilled short story writer transitioning to novel form, and yet Williams had written three previous novels so surely she would have figured the process out by this one. I can’t comment on those other novels, though, because I haven’t read them. The plot starts and stops, typically following one character for a chapter or two before switching to a different character. The plot never goes anywhere, which is not always a problem in a book. But at times it read like short stories sewn loosely into the larger text. Again, not necessarily a problem, except here it didn’t work for me because the sidetracks followed characters I wasn’t interested in. Williams introduces some of these characters past the halfway mark of the book, when I was just getting warmed up to the existing slate. I had a hard time caring for these people, and wished for the story to stay with the primary characters.Other GR reviewers have noted the formal nature of the dialogue, which distracted me a little at the start, chiefly in conversations between Alice and Corvus, but I grew used to it. Williams does a good job of showing us the American Southwest—at times rolling out the desert before us through a cinematic wide angle lens. She makes her points about environmentalism, the questionability of its effectiveness and the varied motivations of its adherents. It’s an open text and there is a lot one could take out of it. Perhaps Williams intended it to be this way. Perhaps she left that space around the characters so that there would be room for different types of readers to reach toward them. Unfortunately for me, despite my long reach, I could not get close enough to them. It’s been a long time since I felt so disappointed over not being able to fully connect to a book, over being so close yet ultimately leaving unfulfilled. It feels strange and unsettling, and yet that’s still something to take away from a book.

  • Amy
    2019-04-27 22:16

    The Quick and the Dead is a story of modern America and all its neuroses. There are a lot of characters in the story, and story lines that sometimes interact, but other times remain fairly isolated. Of the characters, the three teenage girls, Alice, Annabel, and Corvus are fairly memorable. Alice's environmental, vegetarian self-righteousness; Annabel's upper-class materialism and propriety, and Corvus' emptiness. From these characters, we are linked to Carter, Annabel's dad whose dead wife appears to him in his favorite room and who fantasizes about the gardener, Donald. There's also Sherwin, the sorta deadbeat piano player who just wants someone to be interested in him. Emily the precocious 8 year-old who protests the local museum full of taxidermied animals, likes the feel of sand in her hair, and who often pretends she is less intelligent than she is; her desperate mother trying to find a man, and J.C. her loser of a boyfriend who compares himself to another J.C., Jesus Christ. The list goes on..The plot itself is not easy to reproduce, and meanders quite a bit. However, that's part of the story's charm. The dialogue is good, often funny, and the personality traits of the characters are easy to identify with or correlate to "characters" in real life. Williams has an interesting and fairly honest take on America without trying to teach us anything. She is also considered by some to be the heir of Flannery O'Connor's style and while that doesn't immediately come to mind for me, it's not a comparison without merit.

  • Edan
    2019-05-05 23:05

    The Quick and the Dead is easily one of the oddest books I've ever read, and one of the most inspiring: oh the glorious things language can do! This novel is fairly short, but it took me weeks to get through it as there's not much narrative drive to speak of. Once I understood this, I simply reveled in Williams' stunning imagination and her comic lovely prose. 3 teenaged girls, a bitch of a ghost, and the cruel, apathetic desert. Fuck, this is awesome."A truck tore by on the road above them, its immense length rimmed in lights, with a cargo of acids or blood or veal calves. A cargo of caskets or pirated videos and perfumes, or those dolls that were the technological sensation of the coming season, that would spit at a child if their circuitry determined that not enough attention was being paid to it. The driver was smoking, tuned to the libertarian station, half asleep."

  • helen
    2019-05-26 02:13

    in an interview with bob dylan on his songwriting process, i remember reading that for him, songwriting was about taking a story and "turning it on its head." i think that phrase aptly describes williams's writing as well. she has a knack for taking an ordinary phrase, turning it on its head, and crafting a truly beautiful sentence. i agree with the goodreads review where it says that her characters don't speak ordinary dialogue, but instead talk like prophets. and especially the retirement home nurse. (i'm obsessed with her axiom: ivory soap is the madeleine of our country's innocence.) centered around three motherless teenage girls, the book is magic realism, set in the desert of the american southwest. it has been awhile since i've read any tom robbins, but i'm tempted to recommend this to fans of his writing. we'll see if the five star rating holds up, but i loved it while reading it.

  • Adam Dalva
    2019-05-05 03:06

    Oh this is really good, like Lorrie Moore with a satanic streak or Ferrante if she'd been raised in an American desert. The story is deceptively simple - basically a summer novel about 3 girls who've each suffered loss - and the structure is notable. Each chapter is basically its own brief vignette, and Williams doesn't hesitate to jump into a supporting player's brain mid-sentence or have whole chapters with characters we'll never see again. As a result, this is a classic novel of accumulation: the more you read, the more you'll like it. There is also a Psycho style mislead with one of the characters, which is a trick not often seen in literature, and perhaps should be used more often.What stands out most is the humor - this is VERY funny - and the sharpness of her observation of character. And the ghost is fantastic.

  • Ryan Schumacher
    2019-05-03 00:07

    I hate giving up on books. I will usually trudge through one until the end, even if I'm not particularly enjoying it. But I couldn't make it with this one. Hence the one star. It's too bad because I actually think that the author is extremely talented. There were some passages or paragraphs that I reread a couple times because I thought they were brilliant. But there was no story. I made it about half way through the novel, and I had no idea why I was reading about these people. I felt like I was just reading about people going through their not very exciting and extremely repetitive days. Maybe that was the point, but if it was then I just didn't get it and didn't care for it. I talked to people before about which is more important in books: the writing itself or the story. I use Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series as an example. I don't think Brown is a talented writer, but the guy can write a story. I've really enjoyed all the Langdon books because of the story despite not feeling Dan Brown's writing ability is anything great at all. My feelings on this Joy Williams is just the opposite. Some of the pages I read bordered on brilliance in my opinion. I reread entire pages because they hit just right. But there was no story. I got bored. I didn't know why I was reading about these people after almost 200 pages. I found myself reading less and less until I just had to give up on it and move on to something else. So I guess for me, the ability of the author to write a fantastic story vastly outweighs the author's actually writing ability.

  • Kathrina
    2019-05-07 21:09

    A fistful of Arizona sand sifting through your white-knuckled grip, big-gritted dust, the same that covers the empty, blazing acres around you, some cling to your sweaty palm, and up close, they sparkle in the murderous sun, telling stories of the museum-quality diamonds they once thought they were. You're six miles from home. You will hear their stories the whole way home. If you're wise you won't listen, you'll rub the sand through your hair, pack a ziploc with a few measly grains, share it with the folks at Green Palms. They need stories. A bag of dust will delight them. Put it in the box, or put it in the basket.Don't tell.They always choose the basket.

  • Chaserrrr
    2019-05-11 23:08

    Early on in the book a character named Alice speaks of wanting "to possess a savage glitter" and that is exactly what this novel achieves, masterfully. This was equally delightful and disturbing and filled with so many wonderfully odd characters (Alice, Nurse Daisy, Emily Bliss Pickles(s)!!!!). There were numerous sentences and whole passages so stunningly crafted that left my mouth agape in awe/horror/both. This is a novel I'm definitely going to have to read again, and again, and again.

  • Laura
    2019-05-14 04:11

    One of the best novels ever!

  • Jessica
    2019-05-27 02:09

    3.5. A weird one.

  • Javier Avilés
    2019-05-18 04:17

    Reseña en el blog

  • Lee
    2019-05-01 00:55

    If Joy Williams were just a little less brilliant and withering, I'd hate her. Blatantly unrealistic, overblown dialogue, tangential approach to story/narrative (no rapid page-turning here, really; and even the strength of the writing wasn't enough to keep me from turning to other novels occasionally), cynical ruthlessness towards her own characters along with a stubborn resistance to portraying any successful/hopeful connection between humans. But, I get the comparisons to Flannery O'Connor. They couldn't be more apt. That tightrope walk between disdain for humanity and respect for her characters...they may be unhappy, wrong, ruthless, completely adrift in their own lives--but they speak like prophets with doctorates, even, or especially, the 'lowest' among them (the five year olds, the brain damaged, the bored teenagers, the truck drivers, the dogs, the otherwise entirely unenlightened). Williams isn't dealing in realism, she's building an impression of the real as it might be built by someone at a distance from their humanity, someone dead or half-dead, or someone who is an animal--at a distance from our usual excuses for and sympathies with the terrible things we casually do, and even from our own useless horror at the terrible things we do as a species (there's some brutal black humor at the expense of leftist activists here, even though that's unquestionably where Williams' sympathies lie--but then, Flannery O'Connor wrote obscene religious characters, though her overall perspective was decidedly devout).Dead animals, as a group, might as well be considered a major collective character. Williams spends time on them and gives each an undeniable, unsettling presence that rivals every human character consciousness we're allowed to invade. And invade we do--Williams uses completely omniscient perspective and jumps into the heads not only of the major characters, but also the ones we meet only for a page, often offering up a jarring impression from the mind of a 'stranger' that we're never allowed to later plumb or revisit. She's very funny, in a blackest of black humor way. I had to put it down occasionally just because the hopeless cynicism was starting to affect my consciousness in a negative way (it's kind of a default of mine that I have to fight for balance, so your mileage may vary--if your thoughts trend negative, depressive, morbid, cynical, you might want to have something light on hand too). But it works. It's pitch perfect. It's balanced by moments of beauty and profundity that never veer into preciousness. I read most of this in a window seat on a connecting flight from North Carolina to Arizona, then out. I feel like that helped, seeing the craters, the Barry Goldwater memorial parking deck.Pay attention to the roadkill you passed. Pay attention to that strangely revolting kitsch in the road stop, that dead-end job, that place you stuck your father when he got old, that stupid protest nobody cared about that you passed on the way to work. And that roadkill. They are this story, too. Maybe more than you.

  • Joseph
    2019-05-10 05:17

    This book has some heart and a certain vague purity but there's something off in the tone and something way off in its impact. This book is all surface. Everything is a sick joke. No search for tragedy or drama. The products of evil are everywhere but it exists in a state of grace. It's like it's nobody's fault. Truly a fake or tame political diatribe if there ever was one. Williams' main theme is the poisoning of the land, and minds, well, something. Maybe it's just an Indian curse, since Indian things are scattered in the book as local color; but they are treated as a con, or crazy, misguided, delusional etc.,like everything else. The same could be said about old people's feelings, nature, love. Just relentless bullshit, to be talked about(written about) with relentless sarcasm. The book ventures this much in exploring its theme: The poisoning of the land and the minds by...poison. If that's good enough for you then you have lots of lurid thoughts to wallow in.The only character that I felt was truly human, and not a caricature was Corvus. Some beautiful sentences throughout but they feel irrelevant to the overall tone - pluck them out and make a prose poem. The book is well-written and readable, my problem is with the spirit and overall effect - the purpose? Many American writers are unable to get to the heart of darkness in this country. Why? Maybe they won't get published. That's what's wrong with so much almost-great fiction: it has given up on life AND on death. Williams is saying that she is angry, but also bored and tired, all she has left is sarcasm. When the bomb goes off or the country goes Nazi, they'll say, "That sucks."

  • Sub_zero
    2019-04-27 23:21

    5/5A través de su prosa terriblemente ingeniosa, perversa y sofisticada (con fuertes influencias de Emily Dickinson y su oscuro romanticismo), Joy Williams ha tejido un extraordinario entramado de historias que crece ante nuestros propios ojos como un organismo autosuficiente y dotado de voluntad propia, un conglomerado poliédrico de escenarios casi mitológicos, poderosas voces narrativas y situaciones del todo inverosímiles donde el límite entre la realidad y el mero espejismo está más difuso que nunca. Los personajes que transitan esta emblemática novela de Williams tienen programada en su hoja de ruta lugares cuyo simbólico exotismo reside precisamente en la dicotomía expresada en el título: casas poseídas por la presencia de espíritus vengativos, un museo con salas llenas de animales disecados o una residencia de ancianos regentada por una enfermera misántropa que administra cuidados paliativos. La vida y la muerte, juntas, mezcladas en una extravagante amalgama en la que todo es posible y donde las reglas que creíamos haber asimilado cobran de repente una dimensión radicalmente extraña.Reseña completa:

  • Jonathan
    2019-04-27 05:09

    Good, but I prefer her short stories I think...

  • Susana
    2019-05-03 02:56

    Un libro bien escrito, una trama interesante (la idea de unir tres adolescentes muy diversas entre sí), pero sentí que las historias paralelas, con personajes fascinantes, distraen la atención del tema central, sin aportarle valor.

  • James
    2019-05-20 04:01

    I’m not sure what to make of this very peculiar book. The structure is superficially simple: three motherless teenage girls in an unnamed New Mexico city (Santa Fe?) bond together over a summer. But this is not realism. Each of the girls, and every other character, is a two-dimensional symbolic container rather than a three-dimensional human character. The book is often very funny and satirical, and at other times deliberately otherworldly (a major subplot concerns one of the dead mothers, who is a nagging and irritating ghost to her still-living husband). The writing is amazing: beautiful, poetic, and often inscrutable. There is no particular plot, with secondary characters entering and leaving the story rather abruptly, and with minimal connection to the three girls. The best parts of the book are set piece scenes, which don’t cohere particularly into a novel. As puzzled as I am, I’m very glad I read this strange, challenging book.

  • Tim Lepczyk
    2019-05-22 23:21

    Joy Williams’ The Quick and the Dead is unlike any novel I’ve read. What separates this book from a lot of writing is the ever shifting point of view, and the how characters enter and leave the narrative in ways that do not conform to any of the advice from the dozens of books on fiction writing.If I had to pare down the prose for a blurb or a quick summary, I’d say this novel is about the boundaries between living and dying. The characters seem caught in a state where they are neither wholly alive nor dead yet. Some of them are paralyzed by grief, trapped by their televisions, haunted by the recently deceased, medicated, obsessed with their image, and regurgitating slogans. The novel takes place in Arizona, and the desert exerts its will upon the characters. Perhaps they are reflecting the life and death struggle of survival in the desert?While this book wasn’t conventional, it was entertaining, interesting, intriguing, and raw.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-30 23:02

    I'm still not sure what to think of this book. It has a very meandering plot that doesn't go anywhere and doesn't really have a start, a middle or an end. There were a lot of characters that didn't really seem to fit together and there was little overlap between the characters. I didn't understand if the 'ghost' of Ginger was a ghost or if she was a figment of a mind going mad. Nothing was really explained or fully developed. I just didn't get it. None of the characters was likeable and I learnt little about them - nothing about why the characters were like what they were or why they thought as they did. It was simply too meandering and unfocused for me and I took little pleasure from reading it except to get to the end.

  • Tim Storm
    2019-05-06 03:13

    Well, I enjoyed this one. Williams has a wonderful cast of quirky characters, and the story certainly lives up to its title: the meandering narrative is more an exploration of living and dying than it is a proper plot. WIlliams does all sorts of things that might piss off a more traditionally-minded reader. She doesn't pay much attention to character motivation (I can't figure out what Alice, the main protagonist, really wants); her pov bounces around between omniscient and third limited; there is no real plot arc to the novel (though things do happen); much of her tying up of loose ends seems writerly, not a matter of inevitable consequence. But she's certainly clever and funny and imaginative. With such endearing characters, it's hard not to like this one.

  • Richard
    2019-04-28 03:11

    There is no one like Joy Williams. Her short stories changed my life, seriously, but I don't know what to make of this novel yet. At times, it reminded me a little of Delillo's Underworld, which I didn't enjoy. Quick and the Dead is saved by some truly original, beautiful, and shocking moments. The writing is, of course, stunning. Williams is brilliant. She seems to know so much and to see into the world, down to what is hidden, what we (as Americans) refuse to see: that death is hovering at all times, waiting to take us.

  • Rupert
    2019-04-30 23:17

    I've always loved Joy Williams' stories, but her novels have always felt too fractured or like over-extended short stories. This one, though, is brilliant with poetic bending of syntax, compelling characters (more allegorical than flesh and blood, though), uniquely dark humor and a deep but not self righteous sensitivity to the vanishing natural world. The kind of book that has many segments that made me want to run and read it out loud to friends. But then I remembered I am trapped in a giant sewer pipe beneath Brooklyn.

  • Amy
    2019-05-05 02:17

    This book started out interesting and I was intrigued. The further I read, however, the less connected I felt to the characters and their story lines. I'm not sure why. I liked the characters, but at some point they trailed off into people I could not understand, and seemed flat, with no growth at all. I generally like books told from different points of view, and with different characters personalities. Not sure what happened here.

  • Patricia
    2019-05-24 02:09

    This is the second time I have tried to read this book, given to me by a friend whose literary opinion I deeply respect. but man, i just couldn't do it. ended up skimming the last half. Williams is a good writer, technically. But the characters were all so unhappy or indifferent or simply unpleasant-- I had an instinctive repulsion for the book.