Lydia Davis

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Varieties of Disturbance (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Lydia Davis writes elegant prose pieces in which basic confusions are described with authority and clarity. In one piece, she analyzes an elementary school class’s get well notes to an infirm classmate. Relatively clear sailing. But imagine what happens when she describes Kafka’s attempt to cook dinner for his girlfriend--an exemplary presentation of grace under pressure.

  • Read an excerpt from Varities of Disturbance.