collected stories of Lydia Davis, as highly recommended by the most discriminating of my American friends. The UK edition from Penguin has just been published and I fell on it. I don't think of myself as a lover of short stories. Whilst I can admire them, I've rarely found in them the absorbing, awe-inspiring pleasure of the best novels. Too short. Too small. My yearning to be overwhelmed and transported by fiction too great. Only Raymond Carver, perhaps, does it for me with his short stories, and his is the voice of someone so damaged that I also find them deeply upsetting. Lydia Davis, though - yes! These exquisite, excruciating stories are crafted enough, intense enough to satisfy.
Surprising in a way that short stories have hitherto failed me, when I so love the notion of multiple small portions, when mezedes or tapas are my ideal meal. I guess I've never found till now the papas bravas, the gigandes of literary cuisine. This is it, though. I'm going to love this, have myself a long, lingering, indulgent feast on this fat volume.
These are all about form. But it's like listening to Bach suites - the form is so fine, the pleasure so visceral, that it takes me to a place that is all about content: heart, gut, emotion and the occasional mental orgasm.