On Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis: Bah!

And, finally. The last book in Lydia Davisfat orange omnibus! I have finished reading the last collection of fiction, Varieties of Disturbance — published in 2007, incidentally a finalist for the American National Book Award. Boo. Aherm. It has been a long ride, and I thought I’d never make it.

Argh. Yes. I read this collection with the mindset of “Oof, let’s just get this thing over and done with.” I mean, bah, when I read her much-loved, much-praised, and much-used-as-an-example “Nietszche,” which goes:

Oh, poor Dad. I’m sorry I made fun of you.

Now I’m spelling Nietszche wrong too.

I mean, fine, if I were more gracious, well, gah, I’m sure this is all about the wealth of stories in those two lines. But when you’ve been subjected to the same kind of hoopla for 732 pages, well, junkies, dammit, it just won’t do anymore.

Bah. Bah, I say, BAH.

Because having spent the past six months with Davis, I can confidently say that when you have talked about one Davis collection, you have talked about them all. So, bah, Miss Davis. I am grumpy right now, yes, having done my Christmas shopping a week-ish before Christmas, but that is not the point, and, besides, this is a long time coming: Bah.

[Save for, of course, your gorgeous translation of Madame Bovary.]

[A moratorium for the entire book to follow.]

3 thoughts on “On Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis: Bah!

  1. I took a creative writing class in highschool and I am pretty sure two sentences don’t make a short story. In fact, I once wrote a one page short story and the teacher of that class read me the riot act on that (although I think that’s less egregious than a two sentence “story”). I actually have a galley copy of this book, but if it’s filled with stuff like this, I likely will never read it!


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