Can't and Won't: Stories by Lydia Davis

By Lydia Davis

A new selection of brief tales from the author Rick Moody has referred to as [b]“the most sensible prose stylist in America”
Her tales should be literal one-liners: the whole lot of “Bloomington” reads, “Now that i've been right here for a short time, i will say with self belief that i have not been the following before.” Or they're lengthier investigations of the havoc wreaked by means of the main mundane disruptions to regimen: in “A Small tale a few Small field of Chocolates,” a professor gets a present of thirty-two small goodies and is paralyzed through the multitude of techniques she imagines for his or her intake. The storiesmay seem within the kind of letters of grievance; they're extractedfrom Flaubert’s correspondence; or they're encouraged through the author’s personal desires, or the desires of friends.
     What doesn't range all through Can’t and Won’t, Lydia Davis’s 5th selection of tales, is the facility of her finely honed prose. Davis is sharply observant; she is wry or witty or poignant. especially, she is clean. Davis writes with bracing candor and slyhumor in regards to the quotidian, revealing the mysterious, the overseas, the alienating, and the pleasurable within the predictable patternsof lifestyle.

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No one said a word. Even the talkative Keisuke kept his mouth shut tight, hands shoved in coat pockets. Miyake hunkered down on the sand. Junko folded her arms across her chest, cigarette in hand. She would puff on it occasionally, as if suddenly recalling that it was there. ” It was the story of a man traveling alone through the snowy Alaskan interior and his attempts to light a fire. He would freeze to death unless he could make it catch. The sun was going down. Junko hadn’t read much fiction, but that one short story she had read again and again, ever since her teacher had assigned it as an essay topic during the summer vacation of her first year in high school.

Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. Most of the time, I can. ” Miyake nodded. “It’s almost a sickness with me. Why do you think I came to live in this navel-lint nothing of a town? It’s because this place gets more driftwood than any other beach I know. That’s the only reason. I came all the way out here to make bonfires. ” Whenever she had the chance after that, Junko would join Miyake for his bonfires. He made them all year long except for midsummer, when the beach was full of people far into the night.

He gave it a little shake but he couldn’t feel or hear anything moving inside. “My sister will pick you up at the airport. And she’ll be arranging a room for you,” Sasaki said. “All you have to do is stand outside the gate with the package in your hands where she can see it. ” Komura left home with the box in his suitcase, wrapped in a thick undershirt. The plane was far more crowded than he had expected. Why were all these people going from Tokyo to Kushiro in the middle of winter? he wondered.

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