Can't and Won't, Hardback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Can't and Won't is the new collection from Lydia Davis, one of the greatest short story writers alive.

Lydia Davis has been universally acclaimed for the wit, insight and genre-defying formal inventiveness of her sparkling stories.

With titles like 'A Story of Stolen Salamis', 'Letters to a Frozen Pea Manufacturer', 'A Small Story About a Small Box of Chocolates', and 'Can't and Won't', the stories in this new collection illuminate particular moments in ordinary lives and find in them the humorous, the ironic and the surprising.

Above all the stories revel in and grapple with the joys and constraints of language - achieving always the extraordinary, unmatched precision which makes Lydia Davis one of the greatest contemporary writers on the international stage.

Praise for Lydia Davis: "What stories. Precise and piercing, extremely funny. Nearly all are unlike anything you've ever read". (Metro). "To read The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis is to be reminded of the grand, echoing mind-chambers created by Sebald or recent Coetzee.

A writer of vast intelligence and originality". (Independent on Sunday). "Among my most favourite writers. Read her now!" (A.M. Homes). Lydia Davis is the author of Collected Stories, one novel and six short story collections, the most recent of which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award.

She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and her translations of modern writers, including Gustave Flaubert and Marcel Proust.

She won the Man Booker International Prize in 2013.




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One of the best books I've read for a long time. It is a collection of articles, short essays, descriptions of dreams, conversations overheard and observations. Some are hilarious, some are very touching, some are masterpieces of insight. The best for me: The cows, The seals and The letter to the foundation. The problem of the vacuum cleaner is funny. Many make you stop reading and start writing something in similar vein.