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Gladly!

Diane Williams, 1 April 2021

... gluttony or for his enterprise.What am I? – I wonder, dear god – now best known for.Listen to Diane Williams discuss her stories on the LRB ...

‘Oh, Darling I’m in the Garden’

Diane Williams, 17 August 2017

... Tell them all to leave. I won’t look!’ her husband had said. He’d just returned from a visit to town when he said, ‘Tell your boyfriends to leave!’ ‘Oh, darling,’ his wife said, ‘I’m in the garden,’ and she went back outside to stand a moment near the flowering vine – the trained pillar form by the doorway. Not today – none of the boyfriends were with her today and she felt poorly on account of it ...

How Much Did You Ever Think the World of Me?

Diane Williams, 2 January 2020

... He’d never quite seen anyone in that state before, even though he has a mother and all that.Today Lizzie is, he thinks, irresistibly plaintive.Then the doorbell jerked the husband to his feet.Does Lizzie live here?Who are you?Where did she go? Where did Lizzie go?Who wants to know?Lizzie meant to answer hurriedly and hotly, but nevertheless stayed hidden ...

Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair

Diane Williams, 4 June 2020

... I had had enough of everything during what I took to be my turn.‘Can I just pet it,’ I said, when Tim and I were in bed, ‘instead of my taking it inside?’ But Tim said no.And then, at the task, he pulled himself back and forth inside of me with many repetitions, enough to get to the next step for him – to stabilise the project. He was cramming rather a lot into the tiny space ...

Harriet Mounce

Diane Williams, 4 February 2021

... I was able to get Harriet Mounce to shriek and I think I must have thought any shriek would do.When she first stood there naked, I remember she was solemn or she looked annoyed or was she really pained? But she did seem to like me. The cues – she had really focused her eyes on me and she had smiled while on her haunches by the hearth a bit earlier ...

Mother of Nature

Diane Williams, 4 November 2021

... My brother’s words when I hear them these days seem not to go into my ears – but down some other deeper artery. He said, ‘It’s mother’s house and I just think of it as home.’ ‘I would never ever go there today,’ I said. And we were in the middle of a paved two-way drive in the park, having left it up to the pack of people we were in among to decide whether it was prudent for us to cross ...

Lamb Chops, Cod

Diane Williams: ‘Lamb Chops, Cod’, 19 November 2015

... She​ had stopped insisting that they have heart-to-heart conversations, but for stranded people, they had these nice moments together, and he had his professional enjoyment at the newspaper. He approved the issues there with a scientific mind and he made quite a contribution. He was a consultant in the field of efficiency. She should have appreciated that, I guess ...

Molly Went Along Quickly

Diane Williams: A Story, 10 October 2019

... Eventually the mother died. My wife, was, in spite of everything, very fond of her mother, and had saved a dog abandoned at Vaughn’s – because, she said, the dog reminded her of her mother.      Then why be so careless? Because Molly went up a walkway of stairs with the dog who wasn’t on a leash, and using by-paths – she went far into a part of the park where there were high thickets and the dog disappeared ...

Tassel Rue

Diane Williams, 17 December 2020

... The bird’s voice was such a thick voice – it could never have been carried away by the high wind. It was a passionate voice that might have answered the question, ‘What am I living for?’ – had there only been words to accompany it.And I did get to see the bird out on a limb, opening and closing its mouth, its breast pulsing.Ruby had said, There is the bird that is singing!Perhaps we had gotten this far flung once before, where we found the beautiful tassel rue that has such an ugly common name – false bugbane – together with large and sharp, saw-toothed leaves ...

Stick

Diane Williams, 5 November 2020

... How best to touch these woody objects or a person?     She batted together the parts of the sycamore stick she had broken in two and then made of them the self-important capital letter T – and she spun one.     She rolled the stick over her thumb and then she tried for greater twirling speed, as she sat on the park bench that bore a personalised inscribed plaque dedicated to MY DEAREST NANCY ...

Two Stories

Diane Williams, 29 July 2021

... Seated WomanOh, I had my worm’s eye view of him when I was down on the carpet to pick up my ink pen that had slipped off of my lap when I stood. I saw the canopy of his jaw, his jawbones.God … will I never know if I make things better for Victor?I would need to go along with him and there was no denying he was piqued, and I was putting up resistance ...

Two Stories

Diane Williams, 13 September 2018

... With this New Greasiness One of them breaks the routine at the office usually – mouths off or is sullen, every once in a while. The man said, ‘You know why I’m here, Jane.’ Jane grabbed at the man where some soft flesh is, with some force, perhaps because so many persons were no longer in her life – not Titus or Roddy, Mamie or Cecelia Bouché – whom she had checked in with and needed to double-check in with often, to help her to settle down ...

Two Stories

Diane Williams, 23 May 2013

... Perform Small Tasks ‘One second!’ I said – for everything can go cold in a day or hot. For a man like me, there’s an on and off bulb that does the deciding. I had to find a red, little glowing button – that I was able to find – that was on a timer switch, to get more light on. The furniture – like worn-out stumps sticking up – had turned into shadows ...

Molasses Nog

Ange Mlinko: Diane Williams, 18 April 2019

The Collected Stories 
by Diane Williams.
Soho, 764 pp., £20, October 2018, 978 1 61695 982 1
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... Rushing​ out of the house for an appointment, I grabbed what I thought was Diane Williams’s Collected Stories. When I retrieved the book from my bag, I was surprised to find it was actually the latest volume of Sylvia Plath’s letters: they’re both large hardbacks whose pale jackets are touched with baby blue ...

Sexy Robots

Ian Patterson: ‘Machines Like Me’, 9 May 2019

Machines like Me 
by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 305 pp., £18.99, April 2019, 978 1 78733 166 2
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... There’s​ a very short story by Diane Williams which came into my mind while I was reading Machines like Me, Ian McEwan’s 15th novel. It’s called ‘Machinery’ and it’s 104 words long. It ends: ‘For some idea of the full range of tools at his disposal, one would have to know what human longings are all about, a calm voice says calmly ...

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