Anthony Cummins

‘The Girl Wrote A Story’

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

By

Hamish Hamilton 733pp £20 order from our bookshop

Madame Bovary

By

Penguin Classics 342pp £20 order from our bookshop

The American writer Lydia Davis – crisp, clever, and funny – has been publishing fiction since the 1970s, but it’s only with the British release of her collected stories (which came out in the United States last year) that she has attracted anything like the attention she deserves in the UK. Browsers of the 200-odd pieces the volume reprints will be struck by how short they are. Here’s the shortest in full:

Christian, I’m not a

The story is called ‘Index Entry’. Another (‘Nietszche’):

Oh, poor Dad. I’m sorry I made fun of you.

Now I’m spelling Nietszche wrong, too.

And another:

Your housekeeper /has been/ Shelly.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,