Reality Is Worse

Adam Mars-Jones

  • BuyCan’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis
    Hamish Hamilton, 304 pp, £16.99, April 2014, ISBN 978 0 241 14664 4

In her approach to story-writing Lydia Davis might almost have taken a vow of chastity, of the aesthetic sort publicised by the Dogme 95 group of filmmakers. Dogme principles included shooting on location, recording the soundtrack at the same time as the images (so as to exclude music other than what the characters could hear), using natural sources of light and a hand-held camera. Davis’s equivalent asceticisms would be: keep invention to a minimum. Don’t develop. Don’t explore relationships.

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