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The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

by

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis Cover

 

Staff Pick

Normally I dislike "domestic stories." You know, those fictions that deal with slice-of-life musings or investigations into the American Life and Household. Lydia Davis tackles this terrain quite often, but the clarity of her voice, coupled with a will to make it all a little weird, makes her a keen observer of the minutiae of life. Her preferred style seems to be tiny prose gems, 1,000 words or less.

This hardcover-bound volume is thick in the spine but otherwise diminutive; it is graced with a bright coral cover. What a fitting vehicle for Davis's small fictions, which hold so much.
Recommended by Sandra G, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

A Los Angeles Times Fiction Favorite for 2009

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2009

Lydia Davis is one of our most original and influential writers, a storyteller celebrated for her emotional acuity, her formal inventiveness, and her ability to capture the mind in overdrive. She has been called “an American virtuoso of the short story form” (Salon.com) and “one of the quiet giants...of American fiction” (Los Angeles Times Book Review). This volume contains all her stories to date, from the acclaimed Break It Down (1986) to the 2007 National Book Award nominee Varieties of Disturbance.

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis is an event in American letters.

Review:

“Among the true originals of contemporary American short fiction.” San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Davis nervily inhabits obsessive and haunted personas, her intonation shifting with unsettling precision from the sly to the sinister....Davis approaches the short-story form with jazzy experimentation, tinkering with lists, circumlocutions, even interviews where the questions have been creepily edited out. You don't work your way across this mesa-sized collection so much as pogo-stick about, plunging in wherever the springs meet the page." The New York Times

Review:

"Finally, one can read a large portion of Davis's work, spanning three decades and more than seven hundred pages, and a grand cumulative achievement comes into view — a body of work probably unique in American writing, in its combination of lucidity, aphoristic brevity, formal originality, sly comedy, metaphysical bleakness, philosophical pressure, and human wisdom. I suspect that The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis will in time be seen as one of the great, strange American literary contributions, distinct and crookedly personal, like the work of Flannery O'Connor, or Donald Barthelme, or J. F. Powers." James Wood, The New Yorker

Review:

“Davis is a magician of self-consciousness. Few writers now working make the words on the page matter more.” Jonathan Franzen

Review:

“All who know [Davis's] work probably remember their first time reading it....Blows the roof off of so many of our assumptions about what constitutes short fiction.” Dave Eggers, McSweeney's

Review:

"Davis, unlike some writers of nontraditional fiction, doesn't take 'stop making sense' as her personal motto. Her art lies in getting the reader to look at everyday situations from a new and different perspective. This will be prized by those who are already fans of Davis's work and should also appeal to discerning readers of more plot-driven, conventional fiction ready for something challenging and thought-provoking." Library Journal

Review:

“Sharp, deft, ironic, understated, and consistently surprising.” Joyce Carol Oates

About the Author

Lydia Davis is the author of one novel and seven story collections, the most recent of which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. She is the acclaimed translator of a new edition of Swanns Way and is at work on a new translation of Madame Bovary.

Table of Contents

BREAK IT DOWN (1986)

Story

The Fears of Mrs. Orlando

Liminal: The Little Man

Break It Down

Mr. Burdoff's Visit to Germany

What She Knew

The Fish

Mildred and the Oboe

The Mouse

The Letter

Extracts from a Life

The House Plans

The Brother-in-Law

How W. H. Auden Spends the Night in a Friend's House:

Mothers

In a House Besieged

Visit to Her Husband

Cockroaches in Autumn

The Bone

A Few Things Wrong with Me

Sketches for a Life of Wassilly

City Employment

Two Sisters

The Mother

Therapy

French Lesson I: Le Meurtre

Once a Very Stupid Man

The Housemaid

The Cottages

Safe Love

Problem

What an Old Woman Will Wear

The Sock

Five Signs of Disturbance

 
ALMOST NO MEMORY (1997)

Meat, My Husband

Jack in the Country

Foucault and Pencil

The Mice

The Thirteenth Woman

The Professor

The Cedar Trees

The Cats in the Prison Recreation Hall

Wife One in Country

The Fish Tank

The Center of the Story

Love

Our Kindness

A Natural Disaster

Odd Behavior

St. Martin

Agreement

In the Garment District

Disagreement

The Actors

What Was Interesting

In the Everglades

The Family

Trying to Learn

To Reiterate

Lord Royston's Tour

The Other

A Friend of Mine

This Condition

Go Away

Pastor Elaine's Newsletter

A Man in Our Town

A Second Chance

Fear

Almost No Memory

Mr. Knockly

How He Is Often Right

The Rape of the Tanuk Women

What I Feel

Lost Things

Glenn Could

Smoke

From Below, as a Neighbor

The Great-Grandmothers

Ethics

The House Behind

The Outing

A Position at the University

Examples of Confusion

The Race of the Patient Motorcyclists

Affinity

 
SAMUEL JOHNSON IS INDIGNANT (2001)

Boring Friends

A Mown Lawn

City People

Betrayal

The White Tribe

Our Trip

Special Chair

Certain Knowledge from Herodotus

Priority

The Meeting

Companion

Blind Date

Examples of Remember

Old Mother and the Grouch

Samuel Johnson Is Indignant

New Year's Resolution

First

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Joshua Okrent, January 5, 2011 (view all comments by Joshua Okrent)
An absolutely stunning collection of short stories, nearly every one of which can take your breath away. All the more notable for the fact that many of them are as short as a single page or even shorter. Sharp observations of moments of deep resonance in ordinary lives. I often found myself reading single stories again and again to understand what made the austere descriptions of friends and family relationships so powerfully affecting. I came up with no easy answers, I think it must be dark magic.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312655396
Author:
Davis, Lydia
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Rough Front/Deckel Edge
Publication Date:
20101031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
752
Dimensions:
7.13 x 4.50 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$20.00 In Stock
Product details 752 pages Picador USA - English 9780312655396 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Normally I dislike "domestic stories." You know, those fictions that deal with slice-of-life musings or investigations into the American Life and Household. Lydia Davis tackles this terrain quite often, but the clarity of her voice, coupled with a will to make it all a little weird, makes her a keen observer of the minutiae of life. Her preferred style seems to be tiny prose gems, 1,000 words or less.

This hardcover-bound volume is thick in the spine but otherwise diminutive; it is graced with a bright coral cover. What a fitting vehicle for Davis's small fictions, which hold so much.

"Review" by , “Among the true originals of contemporary American short fiction.”
"Review" by , "Davis nervily inhabits obsessive and haunted personas, her intonation shifting with unsettling precision from the sly to the sinister....Davis approaches the short-story form with jazzy experimentation, tinkering with lists, circumlocutions, even interviews where the questions have been creepily edited out. You don't work your way across this mesa-sized collection so much as pogo-stick about, plunging in wherever the springs meet the page."
"Review" by , "Finally, one can read a large portion of Davis's work, spanning three decades and more than seven hundred pages, and a grand cumulative achievement comes into view — a body of work probably unique in American writing, in its combination of lucidity, aphoristic brevity, formal originality, sly comedy, metaphysical bleakness, philosophical pressure, and human wisdom. I suspect that The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis will in time be seen as one of the great, strange American literary contributions, distinct and crookedly personal, like the work of Flannery O'Connor, or Donald Barthelme, or J. F. Powers."
"Review" by , “Davis is a magician of self-consciousness. Few writers now working make the words on the page matter more.”
"Review" by , “All who know [Davis's] work probably remember their first time reading it....Blows the roof off of so many of our assumptions about what constitutes short fiction.”
"Review" by , "Davis, unlike some writers of nontraditional fiction, doesn't take 'stop making sense' as her personal motto. Her art lies in getting the reader to look at everyday situations from a new and different perspective. This will be prized by those who are already fans of Davis's work and should also appeal to discerning readers of more plot-driven, conventional fiction ready for something challenging and thought-provoking."
"Review" by , “Sharp, deft, ironic, understated, and consistently surprising.”
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