The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

Economical, but never short of the mark

Lydia Davis is a highly unusual writer, not just for the often one-sentence short stories that she produces, or the lack of direct speech, but also for the fact that from 1987, when this collection begins, to the most recent stories 20 years later, there is hardly any sign of change or growth.

It's as though she emerged fully formed with her first short story, her idiosyncrasies intact and invulnerable. Her tales are often a puzzling-out of how people interact with one another, or crystallisations of a life in a few short sentences. Distilling down to the essence is the art of the short story writer, and Davis excels at it, whether she's writing about love, kindness, television or childcare.

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