Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Frenchest of All Our Fiction Writers

Novelist Lydia Millet presents the argument that Lydia Davis is the "Frenchest of all our fiction writers" in a review of the Collected Stories that appeared recently in the Toronto Globe and Mail:

"She's a commander of white space, an expert at sly insinuation and the meticulous craftswoman of a self-deprecating introspection that always manages to seem more metaphysical than mundane. By “our” fiction writers, I mean not only those writing in English but the collective mass of all non-French writers; I mean any writers not native to France, to say nothing of all the actual French writers who are, in fact, less demonstrably French than Davis (herself born in Northampton, Mass.). "

See the full review.

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Lydia Davis: "A Deeply Satisfying Precision of Expression"

Chris Power in his Brief Survey of the Short Story, a running feature of the Guardian.co.uk Books Blog since October 2007, devotes his most recent, 24th entry to Lydia Davis:

"As well as exquisite similes... a deeply satisfying precision of expression is sustained throughout her work, and an arresting facility for capturing the circling, convoluted progressions and digressions of thought.... She elicits emotion; she generates suspense and engenders surprise, pleasure and revelation. She does all the things it is in a good writer's gift to do, but in ways that most writers don't think of."

Davis will speak about her new Collected Stories on March 4, 2010 as part of the Visiting Writers Series.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Fred Lebrun on Gadflies and Flyfishing

Fred Lebrun, one of the Capital Region's foremost print journalists and political commentators, wrote in 1993: "A gadfly, my Webster tells me, is 'a person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism.' Not exactly a glowing term of endearment, granted. But I've never thought of the term gadfly as anything but a positive appellation regardless. Which may be a little self-serving, because columnists are professional gadflies. How a person evolves into a gadfly, as opposed to a curmudgeon, or village scold, is a process I cannot pretend to fathom. I have a feeling it depends on who's doing the judging at the moment."

Though technically retired from the Times Union for the past two years, Fred LeBrun keeps up the good work as a freelancer, publishing multiple times per week.

Here's a selection:

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