Davis, Lydia

Davis, Lydia, 1947–, American writer known for innovative, very short stories, b. Northampton, Mass., studied Barnard College. Davis earned early praise for her translations from the French and has continued to produce critically acclaimed translations of such authors as Proust (Swann's Way, 2003) and Flaubert (Mme Bovary, 2010). Her early short stories, which were written in a conventional manner, did not satisfy her, but in the 1970s, influenced by very short tales by the American poet Russell Edson, she began to write prose with a new freedom, experimenting with narrative, form, and language. Brief, frequently oddly humorous, and as precise as poetry, her stories run from one line to several pages in length. Written in plainspoken voices, they often deal with the occurrences of everyday life; some are odd fables, idiosyncratic aphorisms, or witty observations. Davis has produced ten books of stories; her Collected Stories was published in 2009. She has also written one novel, The End of the Story (1995). Davis was awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2013. Briefly married (1974–78) to writer Paul Auster, she has long been wed to artist Alan Cote.

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