9781101874899_dba60For its Labor Day weekend issue, arriving when subscribers are likely to have more time to read it than usual, Sunday’s NYT Magazine profiles an author few readers know, Joy Williams. Her new book, arriving next week, The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories (RH/ Knopf), writes Dan Kois, culture editor at Slate, “cements her reputation as not merely one of the great writers of her generation, but as our pre-eminent bard of humanity’s insignificance.”

A reminder, the magazine has done this before, featuring another author greatly admired but largely unknown short story writer, George Saunders, making his book The Tenth of December a long-running best seller.

Kois lavishes Williams with praise, saying, “To call her 50-year career that of a writer’s writer does not go far enough. Her three story collections and four darkly funny novels are mostly overlooked by readers but so beloved by generations of fiction masters that she might be the writer’s writer’s writer.”

The list of authors lining up to sing her praises is a modern who’s who of greats. Don DeLillo, George Saunders, and Karen Russell are quoted, with Russell saying Williams is “a visionary” and “resizes people against a cosmic backdrop.’’

In a few share-worthy lines Kois offers a quick introduction:

Her stories often reveal themselves as parables, and her writing on the environment is equal parts fire, brimstone and eulogy…The typical Williams protagonist is a wayward girl or young woman whose bad decisions, or bad attitude, or both, make her difficult to admire: She drives away while her husband is paying for gas, or ransacks a houseguest’s room to read her journal.

Orders are very light (or nonexistent) in libraries we checked.

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