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It Was Like My Trying to Have a Tender-Hearted Nature: A Novella and Stories Paperback – September 19, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Fiction Collective 2; 1st Edition edition (September 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573661406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573661409
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,442,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One doesn't expect the author of Some Sexual Success Stories Plus Other Stories in Which God Might Choose to Appear and of This Is About The Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time, and Fate to be completely serious, or slight. This short book is neither, and it harnesses Williams's essentially comic sensibility to highly sophisticated, highly satisfying ends. The book opens with "On Sexual Strength (A Novella)," which consists of 36 titled prose pieces of half a page or less, all fuguing around a Mr. Bird; his wife, Blanche; and a first-person narrator, Enrique Woytus: "I am the neighbor." Its opening lines-"Mr. Bird was sexually strong. That sounds good"-set the tone: its parody of genre fiction and of Beckett-like writerly self-reference continues throughout. As Woytus and Mrs. Bird get into compromising situations, Woytus's narration takes on a self-help-like quality ("Both physical and emotional elements almost forced me to have moderate satisfaction") and his own marriage is affected. The remaining 40-odd pieces continue in the same vein (veins are a favorite here), with surprising and explicit juxtapositions throughout. Williams's irony never feels forced or distancing; instead, it allows her to get into some very messy facets of human desire as it gets rammed through American life.
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“Diane Williams reminds me a little of Jane Bowles, a little of Laura Riding. She is one of the very few contemporary prose writers who seem to be doing
something independent, energetic, heartfelt.”
—Lydia Davis

"With the uproarious rudeness of a great mind, Diane Williams writes surprise after surprise, radically reinvented, indecorous and daring and downright funny
—Christine Schutt

“Diane Williams’s singular, unsettling genius has never been as memorably and heartrendingly evident as in this virtuosic new collection of richly gnomic
fictions that are, as always, sublimely vital in every line.”
—Gary Lutz

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tankery VINE VOICE on August 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yikes, Who wants to be the first to review a book but well, I'm here. I stumbled upon this book from a web bookmark in the library for Fiction Collective. Or rather FC2. I was excited. What's the state of this sort of fiction? New York. The writer has lots of credentials. Her back cover pose wreaks of I'm discussing Proust and you're not.

I haven't liked this sort of prose since Lish chopped Carver up years ago. His sort of inflated concept of word importance to the establishment of voice has left a legacy of writers who struggle (by non struggling) to define a sort of artsy cleverness instead of substance that leaves very little, rarely even a residue. (And these writers always mention how important a word in its proper place is. As if they know. Have tea with Lutz and both of you can chew on the ends of your glasses together as you lament this state of modern fiction...wasn't Jonathan's book lovely? Well, no, I'm not finished with it yet...)

I would expect, as I read the blurbs of the writers who endorsed this writer, there is a sort of cult of writers around this area of meta fiction who define humor as a nose upturned and a bit of a smirk, instead of an outright laugh.

I didn't laugh out loud once. (Where's Brautigan when you need him?)

I would suspect that this collective of writers who picked this book for publication are one, no better than her, and also deathly afraid of making a mistake in their choices. This was a safe choice. She has all the appropriate supporters, previous publications. We made the right decisions right? People just don't read fiction anymore...It has nothing to do with my dull prose, I mean, her dull prose...

I didn't find anything in these pages. A stretch for cleverness on every perfect line.
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