Varieties of disturbance : stories

by Davis, Lydia, 1947-

Format: Print Book 2007
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Davis
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Davis
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Fiction DAVIS Lydia
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  DAVIS Lydia
Wilkinsburg Public Library Fiction FIC DAVIS 2007
Location  Wilkinsburg Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC DAVIS 2007

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.

A man from her past
Dog and me
The good taste contest
Collaboration with fly
Kafka cooks dinner
Tropical storm
Good times
Idea for a short documentary film
Forbidden subjects
Two types
The senses
Grammar questions
The caterpillar
We miss you: A study of get-well letters from a class of fourth-graders
Passing wind
Jane and the cane
Getting to know your body
Southward bound, reads Worstward Ho
The walk
Varieties of disturbance
Mrs. D and her maids
20 sculptures in one hour
What you learned about the baby
Her mother's mother
How it is done
Burning family members
The way to perfection
The fellowship
Helen and Vi: A study in health and vitality
Reducing expenses
Mother's reaction to my travel plans
For sixty cents
How shall I mourn them?
A strange impulse
How she could not drive
Suddenly afraid
Getting better
Head, heart
The strangers
The busy road
The fly
Traveling with Mother
Index entry
My son
Example of the continuing past tense in a hotel room
Cape Cod diary
Almost over: What's the word?
A different man.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Davis, a celebrated Proust translator as well as a fiction writer prized for her sly wit and inventiveness, presents a new array of piquant and elegant tales. A master of the extremely short story, some told in one sentence, Davis neatly castigates the vicious circle that is family, the insidious toxins of relationships, and the oddities of intellectual and creative pursuits. Literary and artistic erudition and fluency in loneliness, disappointment, and fretfulness shape these mordant yet pirouetting stories. The Walk, a gem, draws on Davis' love of translation. In For Sixty Cents, Davis performs an insouciant and bracing extrapolation as she calculates all that a customer gets in a cup of coffee. Parodies of academic studies and note taking lead to wickedly cutting stories, such as the compressed epic of a writer and the maids she dreams will free her from child care and housework. Davis' attempts to quantify predicaments to eliminate emotion intensify it instead, which is but one of life's many ironies Davis so artfully reveals. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2007 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Davis's spare, always surprising short fiction was most recently collected in Samuel Johnson Is Indignant. In this introspective, more sober culling, Davis touches on favorite themes (mothers, dogs, flies and husbands) and encapsulates, as in "Insomnia," everyday life's absurdist binds: "My body aches so-It must be this heavy bed pressing up against me." Davis is a noted translator (Swann's Way), and a kind of passion-and bemused suffering-for points of rhetoric produces a delicate beauty in "Grammar Questions" ("Now, during his time of dying, can I say, "This is where he lives'?") and "We Miss You: A Study of Get-Well Letters from a Class of Fourth-Graders," written to their hospitalized classmate. The longest selection, "Helen and Vi: A Study in Health and Vitality," examines the long lives of two elderly women, one white, one black, in terms of background, employment, pets and conversational manner. Most moving may be "Burning Family Members," which can be read as a response to the Iraq War: " "They' burned her thousands of miles away from here. The "they' that are starving him here are different." Davis's work defies categorization and possesses a moving, austere elegance. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Short stories.
Publisher New York :Farrar, Straus and Giroux,2007
Other Titles Short stories.
Language English
Description xi, 219 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN 9780374281731
Other Classic View