Concerning the Future of Souls By Joy Williams Cover Image
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“Quite possibly America's best living writer of short stories.”—NPR

“Williams is a writer for our times: both visionary and caustic, knowing yet also full of wonder.”—Catherine Taylor, The Financial Times

Returning to her legendary short stories, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Joy Williams offers a much-anticipated follow-up to Ninety-Nine Stories of God, which The New York Times Book Review called a “treasure trove of bafflements and tiny masterpieces.” Concerning the Future of Souls balances the extraordinary and the humble, the bizarre and the beatific, as Azrael—transporter of souls and the most troubled and thoughtful of the angels—confronts the holy impossibility of his task, his uneasy relationship with Death, and his friendship with the Devil.

Over the course of these ninety-nine illuminations, a collection of connected and disparate beings—ranging from ordinary folk to grand, known figures such as Jung, Nietzsche, Pythagoras, Bach, and Rilke; to mountains, oceans, dogs, birds, whales, horses, butterflies, a sixty-year-old tortoise, and a chimp named Washoe—experience the varying fate of the soul as each encounters the darkness of transcendence in this era of extinction. A brilliant crash course in philosophy, religion, literature, and culture, Concerning the Future of Souls is an absolution and an indictment, sorrowful and ecstatic. Williams will leave you wonderstruck, pondering the morality of being mortal.

About the Author

Joy Williams is the author of five novels, including The Quick and the Dead and most recently Harrow, five collections of stories, including Ninety-Nine Stories of God, as well as Ill Nature, a book of essays that was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Among her many honors are the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the Paris Review’s Hadada Award, and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to which she was elected in 2008. She lives in Arizona and Wyoming.

Praise For…

Enchanting. . . . lyrical. . . . glimmering. . . . Elegantly poetic—and often archly funny—meditations on death by a superb writer.
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Resonant. . . . these pieces riddle the reader’s mind with their exquisite enigmas. Williams continues to astonish.
— Publishers Weekly

She’s the story writer of our time, choosing to shine light on the wreckage and the difficult choices that lay ahead: all we have to do is listen.
— LitHub, A Most Anticipated Book of 2024

Impressive. . . . beguiling. . . . fascinating. . . . This is a book to linger over, with more questions than answers, and it is sure to be lauded for its intellectual breadth and masterful control.
— Shelf Awareness

The American philosophical miniaturist conjures meditations on mortality through the figure of Azrael, angel of death.

— The Guardian, A Most Anticipated Book of 2024

Product Details
ISBN: 9781959030591
ISBN-10: 1959030590
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 176
Language: English