Essays One by Lydia Davis
I could equate reading Lydia Davis’s work to several things: being shaken awake after a long nap, taking a cold shower, drinking a strong cup of coffee. She holds her space in the literary canon for being electric, and of course, this newest collection of lectures and meditations, Essays One (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30), surpasses expectations. What makes the collection so rich and special is that there is at least one essay—if not many—for everyone. Fans of literature will adore her sharp, and sometimes tender, commentaries on some of our most beloved authors, from Berlin to Blanchot to Pynchon. Lovers of fine art will appreciate her ponderings (her essay on Joan Mitchell still holds as one of my favorites in this collection). And, of course, writers will cherish her words on craft. No matter the topic at hand, every element of her language is purposeful. Nothing is misplaced or hurried; the book is a masterclass on how to do so much with little. With this newest assemblage of musings, Davis solidifies herself as one of our greatest literary treasures.