Concerning the Future of Souls
“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.