DECEPTIVELY CONTAINED: Davis
Photo by THEO COTE
Lydia Davis break
Short story writer Lydia Davis, a direct literary descendant of post-modernist great Donald Barthelme, reads at Concordia’s York Amphitheatre (1515 Ste-Catherine W.) this Friday, Nov. 4, 7:30 Concordia’s Writers Read series.
The 2003 MacArthur fellow, whose collected stories were published in 2009, is a writer’s writer, as is often said of authors who deftly master language, structure and character at once.
Davis has also earned recognition for her work as a translator, having successfully tackled Proust and Flaubert, to name a few. She has said that the exercise of suppressing her style in order to better express someone else’s affords her a vacation from her own writing, and then ultimately strengthens her prose.
“Davis is a singular voice in contemporary literature,” says Sina Queyras, who coordinated the event. “Her collection Break it Down broke down the structure and fixity of the traditional short story for a generation of writers. Many writers have been influenced by Lydia Davis, but there is only one Lydia Davis. Her stories appear on the horizon like ice bergs, with shocking clarity: beautiful, sleek, deceptively contained.”