Shorts in June

There are many reasons why I like the very short stories of Lydia Davis. The most workaday reason is that it is possible to completely finish to finish completely as many as, say, six eight or ten in a journey. The kind of short journey about which I am thinking. On the bus, on the tube. I had found the very short stories of Diane Williams breathtaking and was on the lookout in that neck of the woods. Lydia Davis is far from the same (the tone overlaps now and then but there’s a world of difference) but I came across her shortly after and I knew an imminent reading pleasure when I saw one. The book that I came across looked very attractive. Although it was bright pink it was also very plain. The covers were matt, a bit like those sombre French paperback series. I’m looking at it now and it’s not so much pink as salmon. There is a problem, however, this book, the one I’m coming to, ‘The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis’, that I found in a charity shop, has over 700 pages. No way am I going to carry this around. But luckily yesterday I forgot to take with me my acceptably weighted copy of ‘Gun Machine’ by Warren Ellis when I went out and started to fret. I mean that as a result of the oversight, I started to fret. As soon as the bus stopped I walked 30 meters to the nearest charity shop to find another book that I could read in my café. Damn me. There, in attractive sky blue matt card covers was ‘Can’t and Won’t’ by Lydia Davis, at a mere 280 pages.

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