I picked it up because Willett showed up on that New York magazine list of The Best Writers You've Never Read, which was dead-on in this case. The back cover had blurbs from the likes of David Sedaris, Tom Perrotta, and Augusten Burroughs ("the funniest novel I have read...ever"). The phrase "laughing out loud" has been seriously devalued in our LOL world, but twice in the first 20 pages I had to stick my finger between the pages to keep from losing my place as I shook from laughter.
What's it about? Well -- middle-aged twins. Abigail is the town pump and accused murderess whose story has just been told in a cheapjack true-crime book; Dorcas is her mordant sister, the town librarian who is leafing through the book while awaiting Hurricane Pandora. That's it. And it's hilarious.
Willett's website, "I Would Not Burn the Library of Alexandria For You," is just as funny; her sales page is called "Buy Something, You Cheap Chiseler," and it has the best author biography ever:
Who is Jincy?
An aging, bitter, unpleasant woman living in Escondido, California, who spends her days parsing the sentences of total strangers and her nights teaching and writing. Sometimes, late at night, in the dark, she laughs inappropriately.
I half-love Jincy Willett, and I'm quite sure the sentiment is not reciprocated, which makes me love her even more.