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Welcome to the 2015 Politics and Prose Holiday Newsletter. As we have in past years, we’ve tried to select the best—and most beautiful—recent books, fiction and nonfiction, to help you with gift-giving.

It’s also traditional to emphasize how difficult making these choices has been—it’s not just a matter of so many books, but of so many truly wonderful books. This year there’s been an especially impressive outpouring of short fiction and memoirs, but you’ll find bookseller favorites on all subjects here. Enjoy!

Pages

Thirteen new stories and the contents of three previous books, The Visiting Privilege (Knopf, $30) is a stunning retrospective that shows Joy Williams as a fierce, uncompromising writer and an astute observer from the very first story, where a dying woman’s husband notes that the medication was dispensed “not for his wife but for her blood.”  Deftly capturing the intimate impersonality of health care, Williams is equally unforgiving of America in general, where “having a gun was like having a pet or a child,”  and where the wild west has become “many thousands of acres of grazing land with not a single creature grazing.”  Then there’s Williams’s way with children. One boy envisions god as a magician who hypnotizes people like sheep so they’ll go calmly about their self-destruction. A little girl shows an aptitude for a career as a mortician. Many of these kids have lost a parent, some have stood by and watched—or even caused—deaths. They are wise—or at least startling—beyond their years. Meanwhile, the adults can’t seem to grow up. They have trouble making decisions. Their dogs meet bad ends after suffering canine versions of their owners’ neuroses. Even the “clouds aren’t as pretty as they use to be,” but people go on, looking for consolation, and settling for distraction with road trips, gin, and stories of “spectacular wrecks” they don’t realize they are part of.

The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781101874899
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - September 8th, 2015

The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101873717
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - August 9th, 2016

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