The Quick and the Dead
By Joy Williams
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375727641, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 8, 2002
List Price: $16.00*
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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 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.
“Poetic, disturbing yet very funny…the brilliantly controlled style [is] informed by a powerful spiritual vision.”–The Washington Post Book World
“Joy Williams has produced a hard, sharp, comic novel about the off-kilter genius of adolescence–a work of maverick insight and rash and beautiful bursts of language.”–Don DeLillo
“Fierce, lively, and shocking…. Possesses a tooth and claw beauty as dangerous and brilliant as a cougar on the move.”–The Boston Globe
“An intelligent, unsettling, audacious, virtuosic, improbable novel.” –The New York Times Book Review
“So strange and so good . . . so frightening and so comic . . . every single element in it is undomesticated, from the characters to the clauses.” –Voice Literary Supplement