Lydia, Collected

By Heidi Broadhead September 29, 2009

I always think it's a little odd when a living author publishes collected stories. Aren't they going to keep writing stories?

Still, it's pretty hard to resist the temptaton to pick up (if you have the means and impatience to buy hardcover books, that is) The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, which comes out today.

Davis's stories, often short and essayistic, resemble poetry as much as prose. She's subversive in a quiet, introspective way, finding humor in pathos but never being too over-the-top about it.

Since her first book in 1976, and particularly in recent collections, Samuel Johnson is Indignant and Varieties of Disturbance, Davis has been quietly reshaping the form of the short story in America. My guess is that it would be hard to find a creative writing program in this country right now where there isn't at least one person trying to write like Lydia Davis.

Lucky for us, Davis will be in Seattle on November 4th as part of the Seattle Arts and Lectures series. It's a pricey ticket ($25-$70), but if you're sucker for a smart lady with a soothing voice, or if you just want to see a literary legend in person, it's well worth it.
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