John Williams’s first novel is a brooding psychological noir. Arthur Maxley is a young man at the end of his emotional rope. Having dropped out of college, he’s holed up in a big-city hotel, living off an allowance from his family, feeling nothing but alone and doing nothing but drinking to forget it. What’s brought him to this point? Something is troubling him, something is haunting him, something he cannot bring himself either to face or to turn away from. And now his father has come to town, a hail-fellow-well-met kind of guy. They’ve been estranged for years, and yet Arthur wants to meet—and so he does, reeling away from the encounter for a night of drinking and dancing and a final reckoning with the traumatizing past that readers will not soon forget.
This edition of Nothing but the Night includes an interview with Nancy Gardner Williams, the author’s widow.
[Nothing but the Night] ranks alongside Conrad Aiken's ghostly "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" as a study in madness...An affecting but sometimes tentative portrait of mental illness. —Kirkus Reviews
The Williams revival is outright gratifying: it feels something like justice in a world badly deprived of it—justice for this sapient, deep-seeing novelist almost incapable of composing a bum sentence. —William Giraldi, Los Angeles Review of Books