‘Read slowly, word by word, if you wish to understand what I am saying.’ Despite appearing in Essays Two, the latest non-fiction collection from Lydia Davis, this exhortation is by the Norwegian author Dag Solstad; yet the approach is apt for Davis’s work.
This is not because Davis, a feted translator and writer who won the Man Booker International Prize in 2013, is incomprehensible but because her work is often so short — a couple of lines or a couple of pages.
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