Sunday, July 15, 2007

Book Review: Samuel Johnson Is Indignant

Samuel Johnson Is Indignant by Lydia Davis

I was drawn to this book because of an interview on KCRW's Bookworm, where she talked about translating Proust and read stories, like this one (quoted in its entirety), "Companion":

We are sitting here together, my digestion and I. I am reading a book and it is working away at the lunch I ate a little while ago.

Her stories range from short word-play or prose poems, to longer ones that vary greatly in style. Davis is clearly versatile. Her work on Proust, translations that are much more literal though maybe not necessarily more accurate than the C. K. Scott Moncrieff versions. I will certainly add her translations to my wish list.

None of these stories moved me in any fundamental way. None are likely to linger for any length of time. They were, though, a breezy respite to some of the longer weightier things I've been reading.

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