The visionary, fearless Lydia Davis presents a dazzling collection of essays on reading and writing, exploring the full scope of possibility within existing forms of literature and considering how we might challenge and reinvent these forms.
Through Thomas Pynchon, Michel Leiris, Maurice Blanchot, Lucia Berlin, Joan Mitchell and others, he author considers her many creative influences. And, through these lenses, she returns to her own writing process, her relationship to language and the written word. Beautifully formed, thought-provoking, playful and illuminating, these pieces are a masterclass in reading and writing.
"A master of short, punchy prose works, Davis discloses her influences, some of which may be surprising even to longtime fans, including Roland Barthes, Franz Kafka, and Grace Paley, among many more... Fans of Davis’s unfailingly clever work should add this volume to their collection, and creative writers of every genre should take the opportunity to learn from a legend." - Publishers Weekly
"Davis takes pure pleasure in the muscular act of looking, and invites us to look alongside her." - The New York Times
"The voice of these essays never forgets its own limitations, or the inherent comedy of passing critical judgment." - The Guardian
"ESSAYS is a treasure trove of wisdom on the pleasures of reading and writing." - Financial Times
"She takes her time, weighs every word, interrogates her own thoughts, then shapes them into argument. I covet her ability to write and to commit to the work at hand." - The New Republic
"This hugely enjoyable collection puts as strong a case as can be imagined for exquisite labour among words and syntax, and should do a great deal to remind us how complex the pleasures we take in literary expression can be." - The Spectator