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Terms Privacy Policy. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. As well as musings about their emotional lives:. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus. Maddie Crum. Suggest a correction. Hey there! The subject of the book seems to be Davis's literary persona, and whoever the real Davis is, she's hiding behind that.

Not that this is a legitimate complaint; after all, this is fiction.

Cant And Wont Stories Lydia Davis

Maybe self-deprecation was meant by candor, rather than actual truth-telling. One small, but irksome, example of a lack of candor was in the story "The Letter to the Foundation," one of two normal-length stories. Far into the story, she writes, "Soon after the new year, I met with a tax advisor, and he gave me some bad news.

A large part of the grant would go to paying taxes - on the grant! Does she think the monetary award was not income? Second, why is there an exclamation point after "on the grant" - on what other thing would the taxes be levied? What's the point of this fake astonishment? And my distaste for the weaseling in some of the stories was arrived at independently, before I read the claim that the book displayed "bracing candor.

It was more an omnipresent archness, a narrator who is, or is pretending to be, roguish, mischievous.

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The complaint letters to companies whose products have let her down in some way are the best examples of this. Again I have to contrast the supposed "humor" here to Bernhard's comedy, which genuinely works. Maybe it works better because Bernhard is going for lunacy while Davis is mostly staying on the plane of the real although there are lots of brief dreams, her own and others', interspersed here. Sometimes we forget, and think there are only women" Sep 23, C. Mize rated it did not like it. Simply put, the writing is just not good, and the pieces individually and collectively are dull, bland, and without taste.

This book is like a burnt biscuit for me. No amount of jam sweetened it up; in fact the more fluff, the more I felt burned. Obviously, I really hated this book. I found it wordy and tiresome.

Can't And Won't by Lydia Davis - Penguin Books Australia

I rarely say I hate a book. Being a pretty fast reader, I see no reason after I buy a book to not finish it- I kind of made Simply put, the writing is just not good, and the pieces individually and collectively are dull, bland, and without taste.

Being a pretty fast reader, I see no reason after I buy a book to not finish it- I kind of made this a rule for myself years ago. Meaning, I buy it- I must then finish it. Usually, I thank myself for this rule because I get something albeit sometimes a very small something affective or affecting out of it. This time, I'm not so happy about my rule.

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Even the shorter pieces lacked beauty and originality in my opinion. So, so, so many of the longer stories were either irrelevant or should have been small vignettes or a poem. I found myself picking out two or three sentences on several pages of the longer pieces that could have stood alone without the other paragraphs. And I do not even mind a little wordiness or stream of consciousness if it is at least intriguing, but this was not. The imagery fell flat over and over again, and the diction was pathetic.

I found the beginning better than the end. I just became sad though as the book progressed because her voice was somewhat witty and fun in the beginning, and then it just got heavy, but without depth. Just like wordiness, I don't mind heavy. However, heavy, long, and over-written is a hard combination, and I would NOT recommend wasting your time reading this book. So there is my opinion of Can't and Won't. Take it or leave it, fellow Goodreaders. Sad face and a wave. May 03, Tosh rated it it was amazing. After reading this collection of short stories by Lydia Davis, the only single word that comes to my mind is "perfect.

A lot of people comment on the length of her stories, but I think that is really not that important. She is sort of like a boxer who knows when to strike and when to walk away.


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  • Her prose writing is beautifully sculptured, and one marvel not only in her skill in putting words together After reading this collection of short stories by Lydia Davis, the only single word that comes to my mind is "perfect. Her prose writing is beautifully sculptured, and one marvel not only in her skill in putting words together to give such memorable images, but I get such a profound feeling as well. For instance, whenever she writes animals, it affects me deeply, which is odd, because normally I don't get any feelings from animal literature whatsoever. But her two stories here "The Rooster" and "Cows" is so sad, but not in that blah-blah feeling when one reads such narratives.

    Also strangely enough, I much prefer this book than her Collected Stories. All the pieces here work as a unit. There is no weakness, and it moves effortlessly from one tale to another. Yeah, a great book. View 1 comment. Jun 18, Toni rated it it was ok.