Varieties of Disturbance 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 mo

  • Title: Varieties of Disturbance
  • Author: Lydia Davis
  • ISBN: 9780374281731
  • Page: 462
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 stoLydia 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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    About “Lydia Davis

    1. Lydia Davis says:

      Lydia Davis, acclaimed fiction writer and translator, is famous in literary circles for her extremely brief and brilliantly inventive short stories In fall 2003 she received one of 25 MacArthur Foundation Genius awards In granting the award the MacArthur Foundation praised Davis s work for showing how language itself can entertain, how all that what one word says, and leaves unsaid, can hold a reader s interest Davis grants readers a glimpse of life s previously invisible details, revealing new sources of philosophical insights and beauty In 2013 She was the winner of the Man Booker International prize.Davis s recent collection, Varieties of Disturbance May 2007 , was featured on the front cover of the Los Angeles Times Book Review and garnered a starred review from Publishers Weekly Her Samuel Johnson Is Indignant 2001 was praised by Elle magazine for its Highly intelligent, wildly entertaining stories, bound by visionary, philosophical, comic prose part Gertrude Stein, part Simone Weil, and pure Lydia Davis Davis is also a celebrated translator of French literature into English The French government named her a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her fiction and her distinguished translations of works by Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve, Michel Butor and others.Davis recently published a new translation the first in than 80 years of Marcel Proust s masterpiece, Swann s Way 2003 , the first volume of Proust s In Search of Lost Time A story of childhood and sexual jealousy set in fin de siecle France, Swann s Way is widely regarded as one of the most important literary works of the 20th century.The Sunday Telegraph London called the new translation A triumph that will bring this inexhaustible artwork to new audiences throughout the English speaking world Writing for the Irish Times, Frank Wynne said, What soars in this new version is the simplicity of language and fidelity to the cambers of Proust s prose Davis translation is magnificent, precise Davis s previous works include Almost No Memory stories, 1997 , The End of the Story novel, 1995 , Break It Down stories, 1986 , Story and Other Stories 1983 , and The Thirteenth Woman stories, 1976.Grace Paley wrote of Almost No Memory that Lydia Davis is the kind of writer who makes you say, Oh, at last brains, language, energy, a playfulness with form, and what appears to be a generous nature The collection was chosen as one of the 25 Favorite Books of 1997 by the Voice Literary Supplement and one of the 100 Best Books of 1997 by the Los Angeles Times Davis first received serious critical attention for her collection of stories, Break It Down, which was selected as a finalist for the PEN Hemingway Award The book s positive critical reception helped Davis win a prestigious Whiting Writer s Award in 1988.She is the daughter of Robert Gorham Davis and Hope Hale Davis From 1974 to 1978 Davis was married to Paul Auster, with whom she has a son, Daniel Auster Davis is currently married to painter Alan Cote, with whom she has a son, Theo Cote She is a professor of creative writing at University at Albany, SUNY.Davis is considered hugely influential by a generation of writers including Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace and Dave Eggers, who once wrote that she blows the roof off of so many of our assumptions about what constitutes short fiction.

    2 thoughts on “Varieties of Disturbance

    1. Remember one of those moments when a friend utters a single word or phrase and it makes you both burst into side-splitting laughter, leaving others around you perplexed. That is kind of how some of Davis's very short stories work, except there is not so much laughter.Many of her stories are about quirks and absurdities of our daily lives, little moments, our common experiences and absent-minded musings. These may be some little experiences which we vaguely recognize, but can't quite put our fing [...]

    2. When Davis isn’t off winning MacArthur fellowships and whipping up essential translations of Proust and Flaubert she also writes almost-award-winning story collections of pulsating sharpness. To spend time in Varieties of Disturbance is to nestle down inside a superhuman mind in a continual state of ecstatic whirr and recline divinely on dark and comforting truths about the human condition. Like Ali Smith (who is better at novels) Davis favours micro-portraits, throwaway whimsies, vacation sna [...]

    3. Hm. Stars. I don't know what to do about those pesky little starsI related to the stories on an intellectual level, that I can say for certain. They were well written and thoughtful. Problem is, I didn't relate to the stories emotionally at all. At all. And that, for me, is the most important part. I like stories that make me feel SOMETHING. Stories do not have to make me feel good, in fact, the best ones leave me feeling very unsettled. These stories, unfortunately, left me feeling nothing. I w [...]

    4. Subtle and remarkable. I understand the misgivings some have regarding "micro-fiction" in general, but I would offer this as an argument for the form. Will post a link to my extended review, when I write it.

    5. تقول ليديا ديفيس في أحد حواراتها إنها تميل إلى كتابك القصص القصيرة جدًا وبخاصة حين كانت تعمل على ترجمة عمل مارسيل بروست البحث عن الزمن المفقود، فقد كانت تترجم جمله الطويلة المعقدة وانتابتها رغبة في مقاومة بنية الجمل بقصص قصيرة جدًا جدًا تتألف من العنوان وسطرين أو ثلاثة. لم ت [...]

    6. I admit that when I received this book in the mail nearly a year ago, I read the shortest stories first and these two-line stories made me feel (with a trace of shame) like Lydia Davis was cheating. Afraid that she would not live up to all the Lydia Davis hype, I tucked the book away in my shelves.Last night, this book seemed to want attention so I said okay and started reading from the beginning. Few stories are more than a page. The three long-ish stories in the book are all set up like lab re [...]

    7. When I first heard about Lydia Davis, I felt like I should have already known of her. This is my first attempt to remedy that absence. I'm not surprised that the friend who recommended her comes from my book club that read Infinite Jest, as there is one story in this set that makes me think of David Foster Wallace (where the footnote is longer than the story.)And most stories in here are short. Short is an understatement. Tiny. I believe the word is micro fiction. Many are more like poetry. And [...]

    8. قصص جميلة، بعضها شديدة التكثيف بشكل رائع، الآخر اعتمد على تحليل دقيق لما وراء الكلمات، هنا أيضًا قصص وظفت فيها الكاتبة قلقها وانزعاجها وسخريتها من الروتين بطريقة ملفتة. كتابة مميزة، مختلفة بالمعنى الحرفي، ما إن تقرأ حتى تلمس ذلك بوضوح شديد جدًا.

    9. I put that word on the page,but he added the apostrophe.- Collaboration with Fly, pg. 8* * *Like a tropical storm,I, too, may one day become "better organized."- Tropical Storm, pg. 19* * *Representatives of different food products manufacturerstry to open their own packaging.- Idea for a Short Documentary Film, pg. 22* * *Beyond the hand holding this book that I'm reading, I see another hand lying idle and slightly out of focus - my extra hand.- Hand, pg. 30* * *If your eyeballs move, this mean [...]

    10. There are different kinds of ‘special’ in this world:1. There is the ‘oh, that’s special’ from a mother or a colleague perhaps, when commenting on a new dress or a new coat of paint in your living room. Make no mistake, it’s not really compliment, it means that they just don’t know what else to say.2. There is the type of ‘special’ invented by marketeers: a now-or-never advertisement trick that always sounds like a good idea at the time, but rarely is.3. And, then there is the [...]

    11. 'varieties' is accurate in that she has several techniques, vaguely constellated around her interests (of translation and epistemology, of 'deep ideas' of self)e's a great bridge to the Modernists she's thinking about them--Kafka, Proust, Beckett, Woolf--throughout, but we hear her thinking in a very contemporary language, one that is constructed and fragmented *from* modernism, a cento of modernism. relatedly: she's a good mimic. beyond this also, she's several of her own styles. the short shor [...]

    12. ماذا فعلت ليديا ديفيس؟ لأنها أولاً مدام، شؤون المنزل، الاهتمام بالطفل الكبير "الزوج" والطفل الصغير "ابنها"، ولأنها مترجمة (المعذبون في هذه الأرض الذي ضاع بصرهم في القواميس والتنقيب عن المفردات والأضداد!) ولأنها تعمل أستاذة بالجامعة، لجأت مضطرة لأسلوب كتابة يتميز بالقصر والا [...]

    13. Lydia Davis’ Varieties of Disturbance is a unique short story collection with stories ranging in length from multiple pages to a single sentence. The stories are often clever with an underlying humor, but some I just fond plain odd. Perhaps I missed the point in a few of them. Quite a few of the shortest stories were more like humorous observations of life rather than stories. This collection of short stories is very character-driven. With a few of the stories, you aren’t introduced to the c [...]

    14. Well basically my favorite book. Sean calls it "Proust tweets for Baller," Baller being me. I guess that is accurate. My favorite was the one in which she reads and doesn't read Worstward Ho on the bus.

    15. Ones I liked: "Grammar Questions," "What You Learn About The Baby," "Passing Wind," "For Sixty Cents," "Order," "The Strangers," "The Caterpillar," "The Fellowship"

    16. dailycamera/news/2007/Lydia Davis' 'Varieties of Disturbance'By Jenny Shank For the CameraFriday, September 14, 2007Lydia Davis writes experimental short fiction, a practice that would seem to confine her work to the audience that reads obscure literary magazines. But Davis' stories are so skillful, incisive, and funny that she enjoys a much broader reach, publishing widely and earning many accolades and awards for her fiction, including a 2003 MacArthur Fellowship.How does Davis cast such a spe [...]

    17. Do you remember when you were a teenager, and your friends all really liked this one band, but you just didn't understand the appeal of their music? And you had a sneaking suspicion that at least a few of your friends were pretending to like it to seem cool? And maybe even you pretended to like it to seem cool, too?That is how I feel about this collection, though I'm old enough now to not bother wasting time pretending to be cool. I just straight up don't get it. Another review I read said altho [...]

    18. I love the short story form and Varieties of disturbance is one of the most innovative short story collections I've come across. I appreciated the stories with a very dead-pan reportlike feel and the use of repetition. My favorite story was We Miss You: A Study of Get-well letters From a Class of Fourth-Graders. There were so many that just left me exhilarated. I loved being surprised by all the different angles and techniques. I think the book really suits my way of thinking, this kind of going [...]

    19. Lydia Davis' Varieties of Disturbance is crazy good.In my copy (and by "mine," I mean the Detroit Public Library's), there's a blurb by the late Grace Paley that goes: "Davis is the kind of writer about whom you say: 'Oh, at last!'"And that's it: it's all exhales and inhales. It's juxtapositions and rhythms. White space and absences. Sentences might turn tense and strange, only to unravel relaxedly in a single clause. Extraordinarily short stories that smack like snickering punchlines, paired ne [...]

    20. I really liked this book, and took my time reading it. Some of the stories are very, very short. Some of them are a little long. All of them are interesting with a unique perspective. One of my favorites was "Tropical Storm," which I can quote in its entirety: "Like a tropical storm, I, too, may one day become 'better organized.'"There's another story that analyzes the get well letters sent to a 2nd grader by his classmates. Not the typical short story topic, but seems to fit right in. Another a [...]

    21. I never write in books, never did in college, but I wrote in this one. I annotated the table of contents. Some of the stories in the collection were excellent, and halfway through the book I was ready to tear through the rest. But my attention flagged when the second half of the work didn't contain anything different from the first, anything improving upon the first portion. I will definitely come back to the half dozen I check-marked, but I'm not rushing out to buy the rest of the Lydia Davis c [...]

    22. writer has a unique style. every single story makes you think about smth after reading it. I apretiate this being different and innovative, but this is not a book that you keep reading and reading altough I like the idea behind a story, I confess that I couldn't finish some of them :)

    23. Not all of it landed with me, but when it did it was like an electrical current. Favorite stories:Kafka Cooks DinnerGrammar QuestionsWe Miss You: A Study of Get-Well Letters from a Class of Fourth-Graders

    24. I feel like I missed the boat on this one friends. Inventive, smart, unique, I agree but I felt cold most of the time. The short shorts were exceptionally well done, however, I think I need to read another one of hers just in case.

    25. Didn't finish, but read enough to know these stories are not for me. Though the stories are (too?) clever, and though I did chuckle in a couple of places, I found them boring for the most part.

    26. Worth re-reading, which I just inadvertently did, having checked it out from the library without recognizing it.

    27. [rating = B-]I love when Ms. Davis writes short, sweet, and to the point. Unfortunately, this collection has several long, too drawn out pieces that made reading tiresome and even a bit boring. What the author does best is show the female attitude and opinion when faced with "man". She has several, almost identical, portrayals where a woman complains about the two-sidedness of man, the sweet and the angry (and all the various variations in between); these are interesting, but after two or so the [...]

    28. 57 short stories ranging in length from a couple of words to 41 pages. 219 pages total. This is the breakdown:Loved"Kafka Cooks Dinner""The Caterpillar""We Miss You: A Study of Get-Well Letters from a Class of Fourth-Graders""Helen and Vi: A Study in Health and Vitality"Stories: 4/57 (~7%)Pages: 77/ 219 (~35%)Unreadable*"Southward Bound, Reads Westward Ho"Stories: 1/57 (~2%)Pages: 4/219 (~2%)Meh, or eye roll*The rest of the stories not specifically mentioned.Stories: 52/57 (~91%)Pages: 138/219 ( [...]

    29. Suas histórias, contadas em voz testemunhal ou numa fria descrição de vidas alheias, deixam à vista o absurdo das vidas medíocres, o espanto diante do que seria banal. A secura de sua escrita explode os significados, uma crueza quase cirúrgica, que espalha as vísceras. Ela quase nunca, arriscaria até a dizer nunca, usufrui de imagens em analogia para explicitar uma cena. Sua escrita emula essa frieza científica, num híbrido de ensaio, ficção e auto ficção. Pedaços soltos da socied [...]

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