Break It Down Stories, by Davis, Lydia
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- ISBN: 9780374531447 | 0374531447
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 9/16/2008
The thirty-four stories in this seminal collection powerfully display what have become Lydia Davis's trademarks--dexterity, brevity, understatement, and surprise. Although the certainty of her prose suggests a world of almost clinical reason and clarity, her characters show us that life, thought, and language are full of disorder.Break It Downis Davis at her best. In the words of Jonathan Franzen, she is "a magician of self-consciousness."Lydia Davis's story collections includeSamuel Johnson Is Indignant,Almost No Memory, andVarieties of Disturbance. She is the author of the novelThe End of the Storyand the acclaimed translator of a new edition ofSwann's Way. She has received a MacArthur genius grant and was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.Varieties of Disturbanceis a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. Lydia Davis has been called "an American virtuoso of the short story form" (Salon)and an innovator who attempts to "remake the model of the modern short story" (The New York Times Book Review). AsTimemagazine observed, her stories are "moving [and] inevitable, as if she has written down what we were all on the verge of thinking ourselves." The thirty-four stories inBreak it Downpowerfully display what have become Lydia Davis's trademarks--dexterity, brevity, understatement, and surprise. Although the certainty of her prose suggests a world of almost clinical reason and clarity, her characters show us that life, thought, and language are full of disorder.Break It Downis Davis at her best--"an extraordinary technician of language, capable of revealing elusive human tendencies through the most unusual means" (Bookforum). "Davis is a magician of self-consciousness. Few writers now working make the words on the page matter more."--Jonathan Franzen "The best prose stylist in America."--Rick Moody "One of the quiet giants of Amerian fiction."--Benjamin Weissman,Los Angeles Times Book Review "Davis works at something much larger: an attempt to remake the model of the modern short story. She tinkers with nearly every convention imaginable, often refusing to give characters names, gracing others with initials only and even managing to tell one story without mentioning any characters at all. Along the way, she rehabilitates older forms like fables and journals, exploring the paradox set forth in the title story's opening line . . . Davis surveys all this and more in compressed prose that is frequently poetic and, without question, memorable."--Liam Callanan,The New York Times Book Reivew "Lydia Davis has been considered an American virtuoso of the short story form since the publication of her first major collection,Break It Down. . . which was met with unreserved critical acclaim. Introspective and subversive, ironic and playful, obsessive and funny, Davis' stories reveal the ratcheting of the imagination and the ineffable movement of the mind over the varied textures of daily life."--Kate Moses,Salon "Davis is one of the most precise and economical writers we have."--Dave Eggers,McSweeney's "Davis can achieve an impressive degree of realism when it comes to revealing the essence of thinking and feeling. For a writer who is, on the surface, so strenuously cerebral, she produces writing that is often exceedingly intimate, and it's this discrepancy that proves rewarding in her work. . . . Davis is an extraordinary technician of language, capable of revealing elusive human tendencies through the most unusual means."-