Varieties of Disturbance

Varieties of Disturbance

by Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis has been called "one of the quiet giants in the world of American fiction" (Los Angeles Times), "an American virtuoso of the short story form" (Salon), an innovator who attempts "to remake the model of the modern short story" (The New York Times Book Review).

and somehow inevitable, as if she has written what we were all on the verge of thinking."In Varieties of Disturbance, her fourth collection, Davis extends her reach as never before in stories that take every form from sociological studies to concise poems.

And yet in each, Davis rearranges our view of the world by looking beyond our preconceptions to a bizarre truth, a source of delight and surprise.Varieties of Disturbance is a 2007 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Short Stories
  • Rating: 3.81
  • Pages: 219
  • Publish Date: May 15th 2007 by Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Isbn10: 0374281734
  • Isbn13: 9780374281731

Read the Book "Varieties of Disturbance" Online

That is kind of how some of Davis's very short stories work, except there is not so much laughter. Many of her stories are about quirks and absurdities of our daily lives, little moments, our common experiences and absent-minded musings. Using only a few words, Davis puts a mirror in front of us and brings out an "I know, right?" kind of response. Some stories are written like academic reports, some play around with language, some deal with imperfect familial ties, some are absurd and funny.

When Davis isnt off winning MacArthur fellowships and whipping up essential translations of Proust and Flaubert she also writes almost-award-winning story collections of pulsating sharpness.

I don't know what to do about those pesky little stars... These stories, unfortunately, left me feeling...

Index Entry Christian, I'm not a Published in 2007, this is the last volume of Davis' short fiction in The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis.

I admit that when I received this book in the mail nearly a year ago, I read the shortest stories first and these two-line stories made me feel (with a trace of shame) like Lydia Davis was cheating. Reading the book in order and having my head firmly in LydiaDavisWorld, the same two-line stories that had made me shrug earlier, made me imagine entire situations and characters surrounding them and made me feel all kinds of ways.

And actually I preferred the shorties over the longer stories. The longer stories tended to take on faux sociological studies like "We Miss You: A Study of Get-Well Letters from a Class of Fourth-Graders" and "Helen and Vi: A Study in Health and Vitality." Not my favorite, but clever.

Lydia Davis, acclaimed fiction writer and translator, is famous in literary circles for her extremely brief and brilliantly inventive short stories. In granting the award the MacArthur Foundation praised Daviss work for showing how language itself can entertain, how all that what one word says, and leaves unsaid, can hold a readers interest. Davis recently published a new translation (the first in more than 80 years) of Marcel Prousts masterpiece, Swanns Way (2003), the first volume of Prousts In Search of Lost Time. Writing for the Irish Times, Frank Wynne said, What soars in this new version is the simplicity of language and fidelity to the cambers of Prousts prose Davis translation is magnificent, precise.