Can't and Won't by Lydia Davis - review by Lindsay Duguid

Lindsay Duguid

Detachment Theory

Can't and Won't


Hamish Hamilton 289pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The distinguished public profile of Lydia Davis can be easily traced. She is the author of one novel and five volumes of short stories, and is the translator of Proust, Flaubert, Sartre, Maurice Blanchot and Michel Leiris. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science and a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and has won the Man Booker International Prize. 

That CV could be read as though it were one of her short spare fictions. We can savour the language of distinction and admire the literary taste on display. We can look behind it to see what it tells us, just as, faced with a paragraph- or sentence-long Lydia Davis

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