The Quick and the Dead (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Alice, one of the three young protagonists, drives this novel with her funny and dark hatred of humankind.  You'll recognize, but likely not identify with, Williams' subtlely distorted version of our world.  Anyone who is a fan of David Lynch, Don DeLilo, Westerns (if you are, read Patrick DeWitt's "The Sisters Brothers" too!), or Surrealism will be a fan of this book.  


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.

About the Author

Joy Williams lives in Arizona and Key West.

Praise for The Quick and the Dead…

“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

Product Details ISBN-10: 0375727647
ISBN-13: 9780375727641
Published: Vintage, 01/08/2002
Pages: 320
Language: English