This work by Diane Williams delves into the strange relationships of men and women. From marital betrayal to spousal abuse and unrelenting desire, Williams illuminates the lives of her characters in prose as sparse and stark as it is beautiful. These stories are as short as prose poems and as complex as novels. In them, meanings remain ambiguous and consequences seem uncertain. In the novella “On Sexual Strength” she describes the intense and sometimes strange relationship between two neighboring couples and the rage that comes with adultery, and a narrator whose social inadequacies and lack of inhibitions lead to destruction. The world Williams creates is a sensual place where quiet epiphanies—such as the one that occurs after an extramarital affair— are also possible: “It was like My Trying to Have a Tender-Hearted nature.
This is how love can be featured.” Such flashes of insight and emotion glue together the fragments of life Williams lays before the reader, and the reader rejoices at the revelations.