Lydia Davis is one of our most original and influential writers. She has been called "an American virtuoso of the short story form" (Salon) and "one of the quiet giants . . . of American fiction" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, for the first time, Davis's short stories are collected in one volume, from the groundbreaking Break It Down (1986) to the 2007 National Book Award nominee Varieties of Disturbance.
“Davis is a magician of self-consciousness. Few writers now working make the words on the page matter more.” —JONATHAN FRANZEN
“All who know [Davis's] work probably remember their first time reading it . . . Blows the roof off of so many of our assumptions about what constitutes short fiction.” —DAVE EGGERS, McSweeney's
“Sharp, deft, ironic, understated, and consistently surprising.” —Joyce Carol Oates
“The best prose stylist in America.” —RICK MOODY
“A body of work probably unique in American writing, in its combination of lucidity, aphoristic brevity, formal originality, sly comedy, metaphysical bleakness, philosophical pressure, and human wisdom. I suspect that 'The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis' will in time be seen as one of the great, strange American literary contributions.” —James Wood, The New Yorker
“What to do with all the empty white space that drifts over the 733 pages and nearly 200 fictions of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis? Make origami, maybe. Like Don DeLillo, who drafted Underworld at the pace of one paragraph per sheet of paper--the technique, he once explained, evolved out of "a sensitivity to the actual appearance of words on a page, to letter-shapes and letter-combinations"--Lydia Davis is as much sculptor as writer. "I put that word on the page,/but he added the apostrophe," reads the entirety of one recent story, "Collaboration With Fly." Another, "My Mother's Reaction to My Travel Plans," doesn't even stretch onto a second line: "Gainsville! It's too bad your cousin is dead!'” —Zach Baron, Village Voice