Ninety-Nine Stories of God, Illustrated: Part Five


Celebrating Joy Williams

On April 3, The Paris Review will honor Joy Williams with the Hadada Award for lifetime achievement at our annual gala, the Spring Revel. In anticipation, we’ve asked the renowned artist Brad Holland to illustrate five stories from her 2013 collection, Ninety-Nine Stories of God. Take a look at the other stories and illustrations that appeared this week.

An original illustration by Brad Holland.


Passing Clouds was the brand of cigarette favored by the great English contralto Kathleen Ferrier. According to one of her early teachers, her magnificent voice was attributed to “a wonderful cavity at the back of her throat.” This was the only explanation given for the purity and power of her voice.

Near the end of her brief life, Ferrier sang Mahler’s symphony “The Song of the Earth.” We die, but life is fresh, eternally fresh, was Mahler’s ecstatic conviction. Nature renews herself year after year … for ever and ever.

Ferrier was in tears when she concluded “The Song of the Earth,” so distraught that she omitted the final ewig, the final ever.



Joy Williams has published ten stories in The Paris Review. Her most recent, “Flour,” appears in the Spring issue

From Ninety-Nine Stories of God, by Joy Williams. Reprinted with permission from Tin House Books.