Today’s conversation with Lydia Davis about her latest story collection, Our Strangers, a collection of 143 stories, is a deep dive into storytelling. These stories, whether incredibly short or quite long, often eschew backstory, exposition, context, or psychological interiority. Sometimes they even comment on other stories within the collection, or revise themselves, becoming something else entirely. Regardless of their length or style, they often raise the questions “is this a story?” and “if it isn’t a story, what is it?” In that spirit, you could consider today’s conversation a deep dive into poetry (syntax and the poetics of the sentence), into nonfiction (the ways autobiographical and found materials are incorporated into her fiction), and into translation as well. And all along the way, we get to hear Lydia read her singular stories of varying shapes and styles.
For the bonus audio archive, Davis contributes a discussion of the work of Swiss writer Peter Bichsel and then reads one of her translations of his stories. If you enjoyed today’s conversation consider joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter. There are a wealth of potential benefits and rewards of doing so, including the bonus audio archive. You can check it all out at the show’s Patreon page.
Finally, here is today’s Bookshop.