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by Joy Williams

Download Ill Nature eBook
ISBN:
0375713638
Author:
Joy Williams
Category:
Essays & Correspondence
Language:
English
Publisher:
Vintage; Reprint edition (June 11, 2002)
Pages:
192 pages
EPUB book:
1774 kb
FB2 book:
1866 kb
DJVU:
1741 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.5
Votes:
544


Joy Williams’ nature essays present the stark nature of reality in the 21st Century

Joy Williams’ nature essays present the stark nature of reality in the 21st Century. She often is caustic in her assault, abandoning any room in which the reader can be absolved from guilt and relax, even for a moment. Her prose, while very well written is off-putting.

Joy Williams does much more than watch. I have always been an ardent admirer of Joy Williams, which is why I was disappointed Ill Nature did not include her articles in their entirety. With guts and passion, she sounds the alarm over the general disconnection from the natural world that our consumer culture has created. The culling of elephants, electron-probed chimpanzees, and the vanishing wetlands are just some of her subjects. I don't understand why the publishers would do this.

ACCLAIM FOR JOY WILLIAMS AND ILL NATURE Enchanting and explosive. The Washington Post Book World Glows with fire-and-brimstone passion. The Boston Globe Troubling

ACCLAIM FOR JOY WILLIAMS AND ILL NATURE Enchanting and explosive. Acclaim for joy williams and ILL nature. Enchanting and explosive. The Washington Post Book World. Glows with fire-and-brimstone passion.

Most of us watch with mild concern the fast disappearing wild spaces or the recurrence of pollution - related crises such as oil spills, toxic blooms in fertilizer-enriched rivers, and the increasing violence in our own country. Joy Williams does much more than watch.

Best known as a novelist, but also an accomplished journalist, Joy Williams has a great gift for inducing guilt trips

In the classic tradition of The End of Nature andLiving Upstream come 19 essays about the ravaged state of nature by one of our most wonderful and honest writers. With guts and razor-sharp wit, she sounds the alarm over the disconnection from nature that our consumer culture has created.

Ill Nature : Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals. By (author) Joy Williams. Free delivery worldwide.

Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals. Williams employs stealth weapons as well as heavy artillery.

Joy Williams (born February 11, 1944) is an American novelist, short-story writer, and essayist. Williams is the author of four novels. Her first, State of Grace (1973), was nominated for a National Book Award for Fiction. Her most recent novel, The. Her most recent novel, The Quick and the Dead (2002), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her first collection of short stories, Taking Care, was published in 1982. A second collection, Escapes, followed in 1990

Williams is the author of four novels. Her first, State of Grace (1973), was nominated for a National Book Award for Fiction

Williams is the author of four novels. Her most recent novel, The Quick and the Dead (2000), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her first collection of short stories was Taking Care, published in 1982. A second collection, Escapes, followed in 1990.

Joy Williams is the author of four novels, four previous story collections, and the book of essays Ill Nature. She’s been nominated for the National Book Award, The Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent title is The Visiting Privilege: New & Collected Stories. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and Laramie, Wyoming.

Most of us watch with mild concern the fast-disappearing wild spaces or the recurrence of pollution-related crises such as oil spills, toxic blooms in fertilizer-enriched forests, and violence both home and abroad. Joy Williams does more than watch. In this collection of condemnations and love letters, revelations and cries for help, she brings to light the price of complacency with scathing wit and unexpected humor. Sounding the alarm over the disconnection from the natural world that our consumer culture has created, she takes on subjects as varied as the culling of elephants, electron-probed chimpanzees, vanishing wetlands, and the determination of American women to reproduce at any cost. Controversial, opinionated, at times exceptionally moving, Ill Nature is a clarion call for us to step out of our cars and cubicles, and do something to save our natural legacy.
  • Zetadda
Five stars for I loved it, yet read it in one painfully enthralled sitting that stretched over three days, one day in Portland around the corner from the church where Lloyd Williams was a minister and little Joy W. dangled herself from the high, terrifying clerestory as if her own private monkey bars, and two more in the woods up in Rumford, and when I was done, I lay down on a splintery cabin deck, breathless and pancake flattened as if by a multi-ton take-no-prisoners steamroller, Joy Williams, gazed at the sky, clouds drifting ever so slowly from the west, Andover and the Mahusoocs, or away from the paper mill and odor of DMSO, sulfurous horse liniment, rotten eggs, and I asked myself, could I still hope to rise to the standard of moral astringency, searing hot ice in the trail of a comet, on which every word, every double-edged razor and whiplashed sentence, in each of Joy Williams' soul-stunning essays relies? Could I ever hope to write that well? That answer is no, for as the fellow who wrote the review for the New York Sunday Times a month or so back of Joy Williams' new collection stories, she's the best of the past century. ILL NATURE ought to come with a bicycle pump for re-inflation of our fatuous pomposities of mind, and reintegrate ourselves into the enabling complicity of fatuous appetites that are and have been, so sickening, as Wallace Stevens writes, to our bearded mother, the planet that gave us life, and will take it back, quite terribly, because of how recklessly and abusively we've slaughtered her creatures, and dispassionately poisoned her.
  • inetserfer
This book is great. Highly entertaining and full of useful information. Anyone who is a fan of Kurt Vonnegut or Chuck Palhanuik will love this book. Joy Williams' rants are witty and wise. The world would be a better place if more people read and took to heart what she has to say.
  • riki
If only I were wise enough to have written "Hawk". And what a relief to have not had to experience what lead to it.
  • Zulurr
Interesting and factual in a light heart way, sometimes confusing if you aren't used to the way Joy Williams writes. Parts did make me emotional so if you aren't looking for something that may get to you I would advise steer clear!
  • Agrainel
At first I thought little of this book--then it came in the mail and I thought a little bit more about it. Then I read the essays inside of the covers of the book and I felt so good about my life. You should buy this book if you want to feel good about your life too.
  • GoodLike
Good info, too negative and sarcastic. She tries to badger readers into her way if thinking. Not well written. I'm suprised she has so many "awards".
  • luisRED
I have always been an ardent admirer of Joy Williams, which is why I was disappointed Ill Nature did not include her articles in their entirety. These essays, originally published in other publications, have been edited down to a (slightly) abbreviated version. I don't understand why the publishers would do this. Why would they think we would be willing to spend money on already published pieces, but not want or expect the entire article? Adding insult to injury, the page indicating that the essays have been shortened is not shown in the preview, which I think is unethical. If you are going to alter what would be the expected product, at least let me know that what I am buying has been altered.
Death and suffering are a big part of writing. A big part. (To paraphrase and turn upon the gifted Joy Williams; see page 49.) And you can't waste satire or pure hardcore ridicule on targets unworthy of the name. You've got to go after the people who kill animals, and you can't spare anybody. Sure it's duck soup to take aim at the National Rifle Association and the few Big Game Machos left in the world. Duck soup. And the sickie scientists who lobotomize chimps and torture rabbits just to see how long they can take it, their white coats starched and pressed, their nimble fingers taking copious notes. These targets are too easy. In the final analysis you gotta get the burger eaters, every one of them, not just the Super-Sized that waddle into the Burger King or the suburban Mommas sneaking out of the Krispy Kreme, bags of donuts like warm puppies under both arms, mouths stuffed. No, you've got to get the photo safari people who kill merely with their privileged, ignorant, dilettante PRESENCE in jungleland, a lily-livered affront to nature, over-tipping the guides and spilling martinis and overexposed film onto the purity of the veldt.
At any rate, this is the Joy Williams rant, and what I say is rant on, Voltaire!
This collection of magazine essays begins with "Save the Whales, Screw the Shrimp" in which Williams goes after the wishy-washy, faux lovers of nature, addressing them (in effect) as hey "you" with the "Big Gulp cups." Next is a short-short about rhesus monkeys being raised for laboratory research on an island charmingly called "Key Lois" (Laboratory Observing Island Simians). Williams follows this with "Safariland" in which she makes fun of the photo safari experience, reducing it to a kind of Disneyland with mosquito netting.
So far Joy Williams is just satirizing. Next comes a particularly brutal short-short on wildebeests, how they can't migrate to water during the dry season as they have for millions of years because there's a cattle fence that keeps them from the water they can smell. Williams is particularly vivid as she describes thousands of them up against the fence dying of thirst. But she's only warming up. In the next piece, "The Killing Game" and in a later piece, "The Animal People" we experience the full monty of Joy Williams unleashed. Now her writing becomes (as she describes it in the final essay entitled "Why I Write") "unelusive and strident and brashly one-sided." Her words are "meant to annoy and trouble and polarize, and they made readers...half nuts with rage and disdain." (pp. 209-210)
I believe it. I too love the animals, but I'd bet protozoa to primates that she'd find my efforts sadly lacking and my attitude wimpishly laissez faire.
I guess the best way to demonstrate the intent and style of this remarkable book is to just quote Joy Williams. Here's the opening lines of "The Case against Babies":
BABIES, BABIES, BABIES. There's a plague of babies. Too many rabbits or elephants or mustangs or swans brings out the myxomatosis, the culling guns, the sterility drugs, the scientific brigade of egg smashers. Other species can "strain their environments" or "overrun their range" or clash with their human "neighbors," but human babies are always welcome at life's banquet. Welcome, Welcome, Welcome--Live Long and Consume!

Joy Williams really is a kind of earthy Voltaire, a kind of meat cleaver (as opposed to rapier) Voltaire, a kind of take no prisoners master of satire, burlesque, ridicule and just plain old verbal assassination.
But she raises a profound and demoralizing question: what IS going to happen to all the animals that we claim to love so much? Both Joy Williams and I know. Only those fully compatible with humans (dogs, cats, aquarium fish) or those we can't do anything about (rats, mice, crows, sea gulls, sparrows) will survive. Joy knows this and she's angry. Her anger shows. But she's also resigned and that shows too. I know this not merely because of her tone but because of what she writes on page 209: "Nothing the writer can do is ever enough."
The denouement of the book (strangely it has one; Joy Williams is an artist) comes in the penultimate essay, "Hawk." Here we are stunned to learn that "Hawk," her German shepherd dog, whom she referred to as "my sweetie pie, my honey, my handsome boy, my love," whom she would kiss fondly on the nose, turned on her one day as she was leaving him at the vet and savagely bit into and ripped at her breast and then gnawed her arms, and had to be not destroyed, but given euthanasia and cremated.
I don't know what to say about this benumbing turn. Really I think Joy Williams is an artist whose inner artistic nature rises over and above her normal consciousness and tells us the truth in a way ordinary consciousness never could; and even here in a collection of non-fictional essays she has consciously or unconsciously employed the techniques of the master story teller that she is, and left us with a queasy sense of the madness of life while demonstrating that there is so much beyond our understanding.
This extraordinary book should be read not so much for the overpowering arguments against our misuse of animals, or for the undeniable demonstration of our "ill nature," but for the perfect power of her words. Anyone with any pretension toward mastery of language ought to read Joy Williams. In doing so we too might learn to write, as she does, in a manner that is "beautiful and menacing and slightly out of control." (p. 210)