The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis; Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Translated by Lydia Davis) - review by Anthony Cummins

Anthony Cummins

‘The Girl Wrote A Story’

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

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Madame Bovary

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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.

That’s ‘Example of the Continuing Past Tense in a Hotel Room’. One last (‘The Mother’):

The girl wrote a story. ‘But how much better it would be if you wrote a novel,’ said her mother. The girl built a dollhouse. ‘But how much better if it were

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