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Break It Down (High Risk Books) by Lydia…
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Break It Down (High Risk Books)

by Lydia Davis

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A really fascinating collection of short stories. Most of them are very short -- a few pages or in some cases even a paragraph (one of these is pasted below). They are all impeccably written, mostly odd, invariably disorienting with their psychological shifts. Most of them are about relationships, many of them failed. All of them are economical with only a minimum of necessary detail.

But better than a description is to read one of them entitled "What She Knew":

"People did not know what she knew, that she was not really a woman but a man, often a fat man, but more often, probably, an old man. The fact that she was an old man made it hard for her to be a young woman. It was hard for her to talk to a young man, for instance, though the young man was clearly interested in her. She had to ask herself, Why is this young man flirting with this old man?" ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Lydia writes short-short fiction. Some of her stories are just a few sentences long. These do not end up being very strong. As many others have noted, some of these "stories" are more like sketches for longer works of fiction - interesting to read, but not emotionally involving. (There is nothing on the level of: "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."-style micro-stories.) Her longer-short-short fiction, however, is often breathtaking and made me an instant fan of Lydia Davis. Her economical use of words is awe-inspiring - never a word wasted. ( )
  ncnsstnt | Apr 10, 2011 |
A really fascinating collection of short stories. Most of them are very short -- a few pages or in some cases even a paragraph (one of these is pasted below). They are all impeccably written, mostly odd, invariably disorienting with their psychological shifts. Most of them are about relationships, many of them failed. All of them are economical with only a minimum of necessary detail.

But better than a description is to read one of them entitled "What She Knew":

"People did not know what she knew, that she was not really a woman but a man, often a fat man, but more often, probably, an old man. The fact that she was an old man made it hard for her to be a young woman. It was hard for her to talk to a young man, for instance, though the young man was clearly interested in her. She had to ask herself, Why is this young man flirting with this old man?" ( )
  jasonlf | Jan 29, 2011 |
Are you kneeling and putting your hands on the carpet like that. Are you on the carpet and your hands are on it? ( )
  dawnpen | Oct 31, 2005 |
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