Lydia Davis' new collection of short stories, Can't and Won't (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is full of startling sentences, moments of perception, and enunciations. When reading her, we are aware that we are examining the world through her eyes. She says she likes to lose herself in the state of observation: whether she is absorbing strangers on the train, the advertisement on a bag of peas, or cows out the window. Her observations make their way onto the page in a crystallized perfection that departs from the redundancies and sloppiness of conversational speech. We discuss the relationship between conversation and the written word and how she considers and reconsiders her art.
Read an excerpt from Can't and Won't.
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