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Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine

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One of Elle's "Must-Read Titles for Your Book Club." Chosen by The Millions and Flavorwire as one of the most-anticipated books of 2016.

The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called “folk tales that hammer like a nail gun,” and these 40 new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funny.

Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams’s spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fiction’s grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief.

Beauty, love and vanity itself --
A gray pottery head --
Cinch --
Gulls --
To revive a person is no slight thing --
Head of a naked girl --
Rhapsody breeze --
Lavatory --
People of the week --
The romantic life --
The great passion and its context --
Specialist --
The poet --
At a period of exceptional dullness --
Head of the big man --
Living deluxe --
Personal details --
Flying things --
How blown up --
Sigh --
There is always a hesitation before turning in a finished job --
The mermaid pose --
Greed --
Clarinda --
The skol --
The thickening wish --
Lamb chops, cod --
Of the true and final good --
Glimpses of Mrs. Williams --
Girl with a pencil --
Perform small tasks --
With red chair --
Try --
Removal men --
A mere flask poured out --
Bang bang on the stair --
A little bottle of tears --
When I was old and ugly --
Palm against palm --
Human comb

131 pages, Hardcover

First published January 26, 2016

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About the author

Diane Williams

87 books131 followers
Diane Williams is an American author, primarily of short stories. She lives in New York City and is the founder and editor of the literary annual NOON (est. 2000). She has published 8 books and taught at Bard College, Syracuse University and The Center for Fiction in New York City.

Her books have been reviewed in many publications, including the New York Times Book Review ("An operation worthy of a master spy, a double agent in the house of fiction") and The Los Angeles Times ("One of America's most exciting violators of habit is [Diane] Williams…the extremity that Williams depicts and the extremity of the depiction evoke something akin to the pity and fear that the great writers of antiquity considered central to literature. Her stories, by removing you from ordinary literary experience, place you more deeply in ordinary life. 'Isn't ordinary life strange?' they ask, and in so asking, they revivify and console”).

Jonathan Franzen describes her as "one of the true living heroes of the American avant-garde. Her fiction makes very familiar things very, very weird." Ben Marcus suggested that her "outrageous and ferociously strange stories test the limits of behavior, of manners, of language, and mark Diane Williams as a startlingly original writer worthy of our closest attention."

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5 stars
83 (10%)
4 stars
161 (19%)
3 stars
236 (28%)
2 stars
195 (23%)
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149 (18%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 201 reviews
Profile Image for Sandra.
193 reviews98 followers
May 30, 2016
“I don’t like you very much and I don’t think you’re fascinating.”

Dnf-ed at 21%. The above quote was probably the most interesting sentence I've come across until I gave up. How ironic.

Short short stories, or rather flash fiction, so full of themselves without making any sense. Mostly vague-ish prose, not coming to the point, just meh.

Apprently I am easily swayed by a catchy title and/or eye-catching cover art. Cause that cover...pure art. Collage from the 1960's with gouache overpainting and originally created for a Mexican romance novella.

Maybe I should read descriptions thoroughly and check reviews first though. Just maybe.

Read this for our May Short Story Month Marathon, a personal challenge during which Alex and I will be going through our short story collection in this last week of May. I'm adding a little twist to it by reading books by authors I haven't read from before.
Profile Image for Punk.
1,502 reviews243 followers
February 21, 2016
It's not fine. It's not fine at all. It's flash fiction with no substance and an excess of style. Around page thirty I wanted it to stop, but I finished for two reasons:

1. So it would go toward my book goal.
2. So I could say it was terrible with full authority.

It's terrible. Turgid with unnecessarily elevated language. Lifeless characters moving through scenes without purpose or emotion. Page after page of empty cleverness. I think the unnamed husband in "To Revive a Person is No Slight Thing" said it best:
Actually, he said in these exact words: "I don't like you very much and I don't think you're fascinating." He put his clothes on, stepped out of the room.
Puts clothes on, leaves the room.
Profile Image for Kevin.
Author 32 books35.4k followers
February 6, 2016
Equally thrilling and frustrating. Williams tiny stories aren't really stories even though there are some brilliant sentences throughout (often right next to sentences that just die in your brain). Williams best work can be found in her earlier books (The Stupefaction!) and in her wonderful literary journal, Noon. I'm really glad that she's being rediscovered by some new fans the last couple of years, but they should know that these last two books are her weakest collections. From the story, Glimpses of Mrs. Williams: "I admired her that she withdrew herself before her presence became annoying, but she was definitely putting herself forward to be available and friendly." Hmmm.
Profile Image for Peter Landau.
897 reviews55 followers
May 31, 2016
I’m sick, not fevered, but stuffed and runny. Weak and unable to rest because it was my daughter’s birthday, the normal narrative of my life today is skewed a bit to the side and everything looks, feels, smells, tastes and sounds different. There’s no beginning, middle and ending when you’re ill, just a continuous buzz.

It’s sort of like my Kindle as compared to a physical book. Having read all the books in the house, I returned to the Kindle and scrolled the long list of books in my Amazon cart for one to read. I couldn’t choose, and this was before the onslaught of my cold. It’s easier when the book is there and I have to read it because I’m cheap and spent all my Amazon credit on gifts for my daughter.

I settled on Diane Williams because I like her, and FINE, FINE, FINE, FINE, FINE is a short collection of shorter fictions. I could read it by Sunday when someone was supposed to lend me another book (they never did). What does this have to do with anything? Nothing. But there’s a similarity to Williams prose and the fracture story of my life, and of all life, and that’s its resistance to narrative.

People like stories, they entertain and educate, but they’re a fiction and often a pat and tidy one. Williams doesn’t fall for that trap. Her work is un-categorizable, taking experience out of the pigeonhole we place it in and allowing it free range. It’s wild. I can’t say much more about the pieces other than they stayed with me in a way beyond words, which says a lot. Sometimes the experiment is what’s important, not the results, and sometimes the results are the experiment. But what do I know? I’m speedballing on coffee and antihistamines.
Profile Image for Sarah.
115 reviews
June 29, 2016
If one were to take psychotropic drugs while playing madlibs in the dark and then translated all of that resulted into another language and then retranslated that back into English, this is the puzzlingly unfunny, non-revelatory outcome.
Profile Image for Jim Coughenour.
Author 4 books178 followers
October 5, 2018
Like a colored box of candies you shouldn't eat all at once but do, Diane Williams delights bite by bite, each comic story barely long enough for a sip of coffee to slip down and settle. It's as if she's found stale crusts of speech and buttered them together into sugary bricoloage.
She had been lucky in love as she understood it.

I must say that our behavior is continually under review and any one error alters our prestige, but there'll be none of that lifting up mine eyes unto the hills.

We do well and we've accomplished many excellent things.
There's a specific gastronomic daintiness to her details:
She'll cook a strong-juiced vegetable, prepare a medley salad with many previously protected and selected things in it.

If her husband is delayed, she'll prepare for herself a nice shirred egg.
Non sequiturs sprout between the sentences.
The brightly scaled moon was rising, but this girl never became a well-liked businesswoman with a growing family in the community.
Every few pages someone suffers or dies or something equally frantic; animals with soulful eyes wander by the windows. These are cartoons in the spirit of, say, P. S. Mueller. Some made me laugh out loud, irritating the MacBook Air guy typing next to me.
It was a tan dog and it was a mix of the best available species and the dog was trembling.
Also: a great cover by Dan McKinley (don't skip the note on the copyright page) plus the perfect typeface for these stories – just as we expect from McSweeney's.
Profile Image for Amy Gentry.
Author 11 books497 followers
February 28, 2016
The epigraph of Diane Williams' new collection of funny and alarming stories, "Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine," comes from a pamphlet called "What You Should Know About Fortune-Telling," written in the 1920s by Jewish-American polymath Leo Markun. One of thousands of Little Blue Book pocket guides for the working class, the pamphlet ultimately warns its readers against fortune-telling as "charlatanry and fraud," but Williams finds the glint of strangeness in this sobering piece of pedantry: "How long will Harry Doe live? ... Who will win the war? ... Will Mary Jane Brown ultimately find a husband ...?"

With these questions, at once anonymous and deeply personal, Williams prepares us for what's ahead
. . . . [Read my full review for the Chicago Tribune here:
Profile Image for Neil.
1,007 reviews637 followers
March 28, 2017
I re-read this one or two stories at a time with longish gaps between. I thought it might make more sense that way. It did. But I am not inclined to give it any more stars.


From The Guardian: "Williams's exquisitely deadpan method can result in a story that evidently means something devastating but is so obliquely sketched that the moral is left tantalisingly out of reach. Or it can produce something that just seems hermetic and odd. The experience of reading 40 of them in one volume is a bit like watching a comedy sketch show – the odd one might leave you stony-faced, but there’s another one along very soon."

Another equally valid title for this book might be "Strange, strange, strange, strange, strange". It’s a collection of stories where you are permanently feeling that you have not been told the key piece of information that would make the thing make sense: all the stories seem to skirt round the edges of their story. Often a sentence has no apparent connection to the sentence preceding it, but with a sense that if only you could see the broader picture, you would see how it fits. Sometimes, you get a glimpse and think “Ah - I know what this one is about!”. Often, you end each story with no real idea of what was going on. If, indeed, anything was going on.

I am not sure that sitting down and reading all 40 stories in one go is the best way to approach this book. It is what I have just spent half my Saturday morning doing and I am left wondering if it might be better to read this one or two stories at a time and take 3 weeks to finish the book with some other reading done in parallel. There’s enough here for me to think there’s something going on and that I’ve missed it. But I’m not sure there’s enough to make me want to go back to find it.
Profile Image for Paul Fulcher.
Author 2 books1,206 followers
November 16, 2017
A book which was already on my literary radar, but which I ultimately read due to its inclusion on the shortlist of the wonderful new crowd-funded Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, indeed I won the copy I read in a prize-draw for those funding the prize.

The prize focuses on ‘hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose’ and I think it is fair to say Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine does that: certainly it is for the ‘hardcore’ reader.

The 115 page book consists of 40 very short stories - typically 2 pages. Not only is each story not connected to the others, but the consecutive sentences within each story don't always seem to follow one another and often the stories end up in a very different place and setting to where they started just a few paragraphs earlier. Even at a sentence level she delights in non-sequiturs and jarring turns of speech, and disconcerting images. Examples:

His recovery of an old debt reverses a disappointment. He will buy a new V-necked cardigan!
The brightly scaled moon was rising, but this girl never became a well-liked businesswoman with a growing family in the community.
Her glance often ran recklessly towards it, as if spurting over a rim, or through a spout.
The title itself comes from one story which starts with the end of a dinner party (three pages later it has, of course, moved onto a different scene and indeed different characters altogether):

You find yourself in a situation where you have agreed, agreed, agreed and you realise this is not such a good agreement.

How did all this end? Oh, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine - although our process of digestion - they'd served us kartoffelpuffer and sauerbraten - was not yet complete when the husband said finally about his wife "Bertie's tired."

To my mind - she's hysterical, sincere, easily distracted and not adaptable.

And one complete story, The Poet, reads:

She carves with a sharply scalloped steel blade, makes slices across the top of a long, broad loaf of yeasted bread for the dog who begs and there’s a cat there, too.

She holds the loaf against her breast and presses it up under her chin. But this is no violin! Won’t she sever her head?

Despite myself I rather enjoyed this. When I finished I turned back to the start and read the whole thing again. I was none the wiser as to what each story meant, but I enjoyed the experience.

My biggest reservation is that something similarish has been done by others recently and better, notably:

The Absent Therapist by Will Eaves, shortlisted for the Goldsmith Prize and from the same publisher;
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett, one of my favourite books of 2016
The Collected Stories by the Man Booker International winning Lydia Davis
Profile Image for Hollowspine.
1,422 reviews31 followers
December 31, 2015

A collection of flash fiction stories, stories that sometimes last only a few seconds, the flip of a page. First off, what a great title. I think the title really tells readers everything we need to know about the collection of stories before we even crack the spine (or open the book carefully in order not to crack the spine...or just tap the screen of our ereader because we’ve been lucky enough to get an advanced reader copy). Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine. There is a rushed energy that I get even from reading it. This will probably be different for everyone, but for me I picture someone on a cell phone, trying to button their coat or something with one hand whilst getting a long grocery list or something read off in their ear, a long list of errands or something and just trying to get off the phone, saying finally, “Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine.”

Whatever the case may be, these stories, though short are meant to be savoured. I felt that each short paragraph of a story invited me to imagine a scene and populate it with flawed people attempting to get away with small things, or to shock or to figure out the meaning, not of life, but of their life.

As I was reading the book, Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine popped into my mind, some of the situations and characters reminded me of her story about this dysfunctional group of people being put into more and more dysfunctional and hilarious situations by one character’s attempts to emulate a fictional character.

My favorite stories were, "At A Period of Exceptional Dullness," "How Blown Up," and "There Is Always A Hesitation Before Turning in a Finished Job." From the titles alone one can tell good things await.
Profile Image for Chaitra.
3,388 reviews
February 20, 2016
I didn't see the appeal. I would have liked more meat, most of these seemed to be a collection of random sentences. I don't know. I felt dim after I read them, because I didn't understand any. And after a week, I can't remember a single one.
Profile Image for Alan.
Author 11 books160 followers
October 3, 2019
Even though I loved Excitability this one didn't do it for me, apart from a couple of brilliant ones (eg 'The Great Passion and its Context' where wryness and arousal - 'triggered by no one in particular' - worked together well). Apart from some lines here and there I couldn't seem to warm to them, found the deliberate triviality and cleverness boring. Probably me.
Profile Image for Niki.
557 reviews38 followers
February 29, 2016
Alternate title: Weird, Weird, Weird, Weird, Weird

This is the first compilation of flash fiction I've read. I love the idea of brevity - just a page or two (or less) to craft an entire story, but this collection borders on nonsense. There are a few beautifully crafted sentences, but it's like they've been placed in a word search jumble.


Title: The Poet
She carves with a sharply scalloped steel blade, makes slices across the top of a long, broad loaf of yeasted bread for the dog who begs and there's a cat there, too.

She holds the loaf against her breast and presses it up under her chin. But this is no violin! Won't she sever her head?

That's it, that's the whole story. I feel like this book is a beautiful example of what it's like to be suffering from a degenerative brain disease.
Profile Image for Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer.
1,776 reviews1,255 followers
March 12, 2017
I won this book as a raffle prize for my part in funding the fantastic new literary prize "The Republic of Consciousness" https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

The shortlist for the award consisted of four novels and four short stories. My own preference is very much for novels over short stories, but this prize has given me the opportunity to engage with an unfamiliar genre.

Williams unique style is described on the book's front cover as "very short stories": many are only a page in length, and even within that span typically consist of a series of apparent non-sequiturs.

A bedside table book to be dipped into and reflected upon, but really not a book for me.
Profile Image for Mamabee.
110 reviews
November 8, 2021
It became immediately evident to me that I am not the target audience for this book. I soldiered on to the end, hoping something (anything, please) would emerge as a recognizable, if plebeian, concept like a theme. Being a pattern-seeking human, I would latch onto apparent rhythms between the stories - a portrait! a prostitute! a story about an awkward dinner with acquaintances in which pee is mentioned a really surprising number of times!

But alas, it was the literary equivalent of squinting at a gallery photo, preparing yourself for impromptu faux-erudite discourse on angles and light and What The Photographer Meant by his compositional use of the color red, only to discover with relief (followed immediately by hot-faced humiliation) that you've been had, he actually just hit a button by accident and took the picture when he was putting the lens cap on his expensive and complicated camera, but he decided to include the shot in the show just to listen to people's attempts to justify it. It was a lot like that, but without the relief.

I love the concept of flash fiction, but I maintain an old-fashioned preference for short stories that (I know, I know, it's so outré) make a modicum of sense. I held out hope for far more pages than was reasonable that one of the stories (I use this term so, so generously) would provide the key that made the collection spring, like a Magic Eye picture, into focus. Instead, I began to suspect that entire sentences had been visiting back and forth between stories, and had been frozen on the wrong pages when I opened the book. Some stories feel uncomfortably like Ms. Williams is having a go at us, with a writing process that includes refrigerator magnet poetry.

In an effort to be useful to any reader who may stumble across my review, I will say that this book irritated me in much the same way as Ali Smith's Autumn. If you enjoy her writing, and if you take delight in inscrutable and occasionally scatological prose with an underlying theme of I Bet They Will Give Me An Award For This, a) you will probably like this book, and b) get help.

Edited to add: This book only received two stars because of the admittedly delightful description of a dog as "a mix of the best available species." I know that dog, and I think you do too. One star for the dog.
Profile Image for Jack Rousseau.
195 reviews3 followers
January 17, 2022
"Diane Williams is one of the true living heroes of the American avant-garde. Herfiction makes very familiar things very, very weird."
- Jonathan Franzen

"The uncanny has met its ideal delivery system: the stories of Diane Williams."
- Ben Marcus

To see Diane Williams championed by Jonathan Franzen and Ben Marcus is a testament to her unique position in American literature. The phenomenally successful Jonathan Franzen and the relatively obscure Ben Marcus re-affirmed their own positions in American literature with two essays. The first, "Mr Difficult" by Franzen, was a criticism of William Gaddis and of experimental fiction in general (which he deemed "hard to read"). The second, "Why experimental fiction threatens to destroy publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and life as we know it" by Marcus, was a defence of experimental fiction and a criticism of Franzen's cultural commentary (which he deemed "embarrassing").

It is therefore surprising that these two unalike authors have found common ground, have both championed Diane Williams. Perhaps this speaks to the precarious position Williams is in - somewhere between the populist fiction of Franzen and experimental fiction of Marcus, a grey area otherwise almost uninhabited (Lydia Davis and Russell Edson come to mind...). As such, Williams's fiction risks alienating popular readers with its experimentation, and risks alienating experimental readers with its popularity.

This accounts for the book's low rating (a disgraceful 2.74, last I checked). Readers of Elle, The Millions, and Flavorwire undoubtedly will not know what to do with a story like "Lavatory", a story that ends: The host called, "Kids! Mike! Dad and Mom!" He called these copulators to come in to dinner. In fact, this group represented a predictable array of vocations - including hard workers, worriers, travellers, and liars - defecators, of course, urinators and music makers.
* * *

There had been the guest's lavatory visit - to summarize. She did so want to be comfortable then and for the rest of her life. She had been hiking her skirt and puling down her undergarment, just trying not to fall apart.
Once back in the foyer, she brought out a gift for her host. "I tried to find something old for you to put on your mantel, but I just couldn't. I tried to find something similar to what you already have, to be on the safe side, but I couldn't."
It was difficult for the guest to comprehend easily what the other invitees were saying, because she wasn't listening carefully.
One man happened to have a son who knew her son. He had learned something of importance about her son - about his prospects. Something.
But the guest interrupted him, "I don't agree that there is a comfortable space for each of us out there and we have to find it. I think this is so wrong. It assumes there is a little environment that you can slip into and be perfectly happy. My notion is you try to do all the things you're comfortable with and eventually you will find your comfortable environment."
A man they called Mike smoked a maduro and he had a urine stain on his trouser fly. He was very attentive to the host and to his wife Melissa.
"Stop!" his wife cried, but he'd done it already - tipped the ashtray he'd used - the dimpled copper bowl - into the grate behind the fire screen. The ashes fell down nicely, sparsely. There was still some dark, sticky stuff leftover in the bowl.
The host called, "Kids! Mike! Dad and Mom!" He called these copulators to come in to dinner. In fact, this group represented a predictable array of vocations - including hard workers, worriers, travellers, and liars - defecators, of course, urinators and music makers
- Lavatory, pg. 35-36

* * *

She carves with a sharply scalloped steel blade, makes slices across the top of a long, broad loaf of yeasted bread for the dog who begs and there's a cat there, too.
She holds the loaf against her breast and presses it up under her chin. But this is no violin! Won't she sever her head?
- The Poet, pg. 47

* * *

Each child had a claim to a pile of jewelry when my paternal grandmother died - and how did they determine who was to have which pile?
The heirs were sent into an adjacent room and a trustee called out loudly enough to be heard by all of them - "Who will have this pile?"
My father said he shouted - "August Wilhelm will have this pile!"
Thus, my mother eventually received two gem-set rings that she wore as a pair until she achieved an advanced age and then she amalgamated the two of them into one - so that the diamonds and the sapphires were impressively bulked together.
I had to have it. It was a phantasmagoria. I selected it after my mother's death, not because I liked it, but because it offers the memory of my mother and of the awkward, temporarily placed cold comfort that she gave me.
It's hard to believe that our affair was so long ago.
- Greed, pg. 81-82

* * *

In the words of people who frequently repeat themselves - he is told fair words of devotion, sitting in a room decked out in antique red velvet.
Then he is miles away, say - getting a kick out of a pleasant night in a boat on sea water.
He is eating Vienna rolls with a member of the opposite sex near a roadside chapel, having a flirtation.
His recovery of an old debt reverses a disappointment. He will buy a new V-necked cardigan!
There must be something in fortune-telling. He will get tickets to the theatre and only mildly suffer the experience.
This good luck was not the last, but the lucky are not always wise and he can well stand some more of it.
- With Red Chair, pg. 109-110
Profile Image for Gayle Slagle.
343 reviews10 followers
August 7, 2016
Flash literature is defined as brief, creative writing generally between 500 and 1500 words. Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine by Diane Williams certainly fits the definition. Having never read Williams, I was a bit taken aback when I started reading short stories that are truly short.......between one and four pages long. The first two that I read totally confused me and I thought, "What the Hell?" However, I persevered as a lover of words and literature would do and in the end was rewarded with vignettes into the soul ....... a dark soul, mind you, but a soul that we all share at times. If you like your stories to have a good plot, don't even start this one. If you want your stories to always make perfect sense. don't even start this one. If you want your stories to have a beginning, a middle and an end, don't even start this one. But if you are a lover of words and the beauty that can be achieved by simply stringing some together in a cacophony of poetry, stick your feet in the water of these stories. If you like creativity and unconventionality, swim against the tide and read these. If you like literature that makes you say, as I did, "What the Hell....," wade upstream in this one. Do I "get" these stories? No......sometimes not at all and other times, I think so, but then maybe not. There is no true plot in any of them; it is though you have been plopped into the story and you are not sure if you are reading the beginning, the middle, or the end. Sort of like life; is a given situation the beginning of something, the middle of something, or the end of something. The stories in this book are both simple and complex at the same time. These are stories that I think you need to read, set the book aside, pick up later and read again, and then keep close by to read again. You will probably either love or hate Diane Williams. but then that it is part of the beauty and the allure of literature. To each his or her own.......
Profile Image for Geoff.
963 reviews92 followers
November 21, 2018
Really, really weird stories (not in a fantasy or sf sense, but weird in a "I don't understand this person's basic worldview, motivations, or even the structure of their world"), but reading them back to back to back somehow you fall into their strange universe and they all make sense. I'm not sure Williams' other books will be at the top of my TBR list, but I'm glad I read this one.
Profile Image for Rose Gowen.
Author 1 book16 followers
December 30, 2017
Trying to rate these stories according to normal literary standards would be beside the point. Things happen, but it's hard to say, or even know, what. There are persons, with names, but no character development. It's hard to say, upon finishing a story, whether it has fulfilled its promise, since it's hard to say what any of them are setting out to do in the first place.

I could then try to rate this book according to my enjoyment of it. But I don't want to. Much of the language is fun or funny or startling. There's a strange sexuality running through. I'm interested in the tensions between spouses new and former, and the mixture of hostility and guilt felt by a woman toward her elderly mother.

Profile Image for Peacegal.
9,941 reviews90 followers
March 2, 2018
What? What? What? What? What?

This isn't a book of short stories. I don't know what it is. It seems that the author clipped paragraphs from a hundred different books and pasted them all together in a crazy collage. The result is disjointed scenes that reel drunkenly from one thought to the next.

I think it's hilarious that Fine is being promoted as a great book club selection. I can only imagine how my group members would react to this.
Profile Image for Маx Nestelieiev.
Author 20 books140 followers
May 25, 2018
I decided to read this because:
- it is short
- it was named 'one of most-anticipated books of 2016'
and I must say that:
- it was even shorter that I guess
- it was total bullshit. extra-short stories about women & men, they are all unhappy and you don`t find nor beginnings neither endings in these stories. glad this waste of time was not huge waste of time.
Profile Image for Alysson Oliveira.
348 reviews40 followers
January 4, 2019
Curto e direto

Em “Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine”, Diane Williams produz aquilo que se convencionou chamar de flash fiction – contos curtos, às vezes, micro, que brincam com a forma e especialmente a linguagem. Nesse livro, estão 40 textos que variam entre 4,5 linhas e 3 páginas. Alguns deles têm um tom autobiográfico – mas podem ser totalmente inventados – colocando uma personagem chamada Diane, e algum membro da família Williams – se são reais ou não, na verdade, não importa muito.

O que conta aqui é como a autora busca uma verdade interior na vida de personagens por meio de textos tão curtos. Pode ser uma experiência divertida, mas frustrante para alguns em busca de mais sustância em sua leitura. As cenas domésticas, em especial, são reveladoras – como o destino de um par de brincos herdados da avó, ou uma visita da irmã que é juíza.

Williams é considerada uma mestre no formato, e dada sua experiência, é percebe que em poucas palavras, ela extrai muito das situações e pessoas, ainda deixando espaço para a imaginação de seu leitor. Nesse sentido, ela está no mesmo grupo de contistas como Lydia Davis e Joy Williams, no “Ninety-nine stories of GOD”. “Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine” é um livro que pode ser lido de uma vez só, e o que se tem é uma variedade da comédia humana desfilando na nossa frente; ou, aos poucos, um conto por dia, por exemplo, e o efeito não será diferente.
Profile Image for Kent Winward.
1,679 reviews46 followers
December 6, 2018
I enjoy flash fiction, but this collection was no where near Lydia Davis. It had its moments where it was fine and quite a few that were not so fine. I also read Mel Bosworth and Ryan Ridge's Weird Weeks at the same time and they played on the weird and unusual and you knew they were doing that. Williams seemed to head into the weird while clinging to a reality that really wasn't all that fun. This might explain the hot/cold reactions to this book. Me, I am lukewarm about it.
Profile Image for Melanie Worth.
37 reviews
October 11, 2019
I'm not sure why I loved this so much. I've read, and re-read, the stories in random order and can never remember if I've already read what I'm reading. I can't think of a single person I'd recommend this book to. And yet... 4 stars! Diane's is a crazy-talented wordsmith and I know I'll keep reading these stories a few more times over before I'm ready to let them go.

The cover art and the title both get 5 stars.
Profile Image for Sarah.
368 reviews
July 14, 2018
I didn’t get this at all! I only enjoyed about 5 of these stories and even those weren’t that notable.
Profile Image for Jackie Law.
876 reviews
February 19, 2017
Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, by Diane Williams, is a collection of forty very short stories exploring such wide ranging themes as life, death, love, sex and associated, often fractious, relationships. There is a rough honesty to the thoughts and interactions in each snapshot – for a snapshot is all that can be offered in a tale that plays out in so few words. These are little moments of detail, vividly recalled with a point that is not always clear.

The opacity adds to the sense that the reader is observing rather than participating in each scenario. Characters share their thoughts with a dark, sometimes fevered intensity. There are moments of quiet reflection, gatherings where participants seem barely able to tolerate each other’s company, family groups displaying their love and despair at behaviours. Partners and friends huff over habits that grate.

A number of the stories provide observations on possessions when moving house or dealing with inheritance. The changing dynamics of relationships caused by the passage of time and a perceived lack of appreciation are touched upon. There is an apartness to each individual with occasional geysers of feeling spilling over those who happen to share proximity. Participants wade through many petty vexations.

Although easy enough to read and offering plenty to ponder I did not find this collection satisfying. As with incidents in life few tales offer a tidy conclusion. They are ripples in time, keenly considered, but sometimes frustratingly opaque. There is depth and immersion but too often I missed the point, if there was one, being made.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, CB Editions.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
Author 57 books565 followers
February 24, 2016
I'm being generous with the 3 stars but it's tricky to rate flash fiction. There's a lot of style here and some substance. There's some great writing. There's some flat writing (surprisingly). There is definitely some exciting experimentation with form. Super weird and strange and not sure it was for me.
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