- Paperback: 768 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (General UK); 1 edition (23 April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241969131
- ISBN-13: 978-0241969137
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 481 g
- Customer Reviews: 149 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Collected Stories Of Lydia Davis Paperback – 23 April 2014
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I loved these stories. They are so well-written, with such clarity of thought and precision of language. Excellent (Evening Standard)
Brilliant, exciting, thrilling, extremely funny (Daily Telegraph)
Davis is a magician. Few writers working now make the words on the page matter more
Big rejoicing: Lydia Davis has won the Man Booker International prize. Never did a book award deliver such a true match-winning punch. Best of all, a new audience will read her now and find her wit, her vigour and rigour, her funniness, her thoughtfulness, and the precision of form, which mark Davis out as unique.
Daring, excitingly intelligent and often wildly comic [she] reminds you, in a world that likes to bandy its words about, what words such as economy, precision and originality really mean. This is a writer as mighty as Kafka, as subtle as Flaubert and as epoch-making, in her own way, as Proust.
A two-liner from Davis, or a seemingly throwaway paragraph, will haunt. What looks like a game will open to deep seriousness; what looks like philosophy will reveal playfulness, tragicomedy, ordinariness; what looks like ordinariness will ask you to look again at Davis's writing. In its acuteness, it always asks attentiveness, and it repays this by opening up to its reader like possibility, or like a bush covered in flowerheads.
She's a joy. There's no writer quite like her.(Ali Smith)
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Top international reviews
All the stories are heavy on narrative and exposition. Not much in the way of action or dialogue. So they take on a kind of confessional or contemplative air. As the stories are generally quite short I don’t think they suffer for this idiosyncrasy. Though one or two, like ‘St Martin’ and ‘Lord Royston’s Tour' are a bit longer, and, in these cases, I did find myself itching for some live action, or conversation.
You could say there are two types of story here: the miniatures, sometimes only a paragraph or two; and the longer ones. I didn’t care much for the miniatures. They are sort of poetic, clever, amusing little cameos, or they aim to be. I’m not so convinced they succeed on all counts. They remind me a little of some of Leonard Cohen’s poetry.
For all that, I did find some of the optimal length stories exquisite - original and expertly composed. Like ‘The Letter’, ‘French Lesson I’ and ‘Meat, My Husband’.
She claims to have been greatly influenced by Kafka-but is he ever this funny? Don't be put off by hearing that she is a writer's writer or 'experimental' as she is not at all hard to read or understand.
This is a perfect book to dip in and out of and to return to over and over again.