Varieties of Disturbance: Stories

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Macmillan, May 15, 2007 - Fiction - 240 pages
125 Reviews

Lydia Davis has been called "one of the quiet giants in the world of American fiction" (Los Angeles Times), "an American virtuoso of the short story form" (Salon), an innovator who attempts "to remake the model of the modern short story" (The New York Times Book Review). Her admirers include Grace Paley, Jonathan Franzen, and Zadie Smith; as Time magazine observed, her stories are "moving . . . and somehow inevitable, as if she has written what we were all on the verge of thinking."

In Varieties of Disturbance, her fourth collection, Davis extends her reach as never before in stories that take every form from sociological studies to concise poems. Her subjects include the five senses, fourth-graders, good taste, and tropical storms. She offers a reinterpretation of insomnia and re-creates the ordeals of Kafka in the kitchen. She questions the lengths to which one should go to save the life of a caterpillar, proposes a clear account of the sexual act, rides the bus, probes the limits of marital fidelity, and unlocks the secret to a long and happy life.

No two of these fictions are alike. And yet in each, Davis rearranges our view of the world by looking beyond our preconceptions to a bizarre truth, a source of delight and surprise.

Varieties of Disturbance is a 2007 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.


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Worth reading for her inventive, laconic prose alone. - Goodreads
I am writing a pointless review of this book. - Goodreads
I admire Davis' prose style. - Goodreads
She is also a minimalist writer (on - Goodreads
Lydia Davis is a master short story writer. - Goodreads

Review: Varieties of Disturbance

User Review  - Patty - Goodreads

Collaboration with a Fly I put that word on the page, but he added the apostrophe. p. 8 I tend to like short stories. So after I read an article about Lydia Davis, I naturally checked out a book of ... Read full review

Review: Varieties of Disturbance

User Review  - Elizabeth Hickey - Goodreads

Not awful but it certainly felt tedious at times. Relieved to be finished with it. Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Lydia Davis's story collections include the Village Voice favorite Samuel Johnson Is Indignant and Almost No Memory, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. She is the acclaimed translator of the new Swann's Way. She received a 2003 MacArthur fellowship.

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