Varieties of Disturbance: Stories and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.00
  • Save: $4.87 (35%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: SHIPS DIRECTLY FROM AMAZON. Book is sharp with only minor wear. Has a publisher's remainder mark.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Varieties of Disturbance: Stories Paperback – May 15, 2007


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.13
$4.93 $2.18
Best%20Books%20of%202014


Frequently Bought Together

Varieties of Disturbance: Stories + Collected Poems, 1948-1984 + To the Lighthouse
Price for all three: $36.52

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
12 Days of Kindle Book Deals
Load your library with Amazon's editors' picks, $2.99 or less each today only. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374281734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374281731
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Davis's spare, always surprising short fiction was most recently collected in Samuel Johnson Is Indignant. In this introspective, more sober culling, Davis touches on favorite themes (mothers, dogs, flies and husbands) and encapsulates, as in "Insomnia," everyday life's absurdist binds: "My body aches so—It must be this heavy bed pressing up against me." Davis is a noted translator (Swann's Way), and a kind of passion—and bemused suffering—for points of rhetoric produces a delicate beauty in "Grammar Questions" ("Now, during his time of dying, can I say, 'This is where he lives'?") and "We Miss You: A Study of Get-Well Letters from a Class of Fourth-Graders," written to their hospitalized classmate. The longest selection, "Helen and Vi: A Study in Health and Vitality," examines the long lives of two elderly women, one white, one black, in terms of background, employment, pets and conversational manner. Most moving may be "Burning Family Members," which can be read as a response to the Iraq War: " 'They' burned her thousands of miles away from here. The 'they' that are starving him here are different." Davis's work defies categorization and possesses a moving, austere elegance. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Davis’s whimsical, seemingly eventless fictions, with their looping motifs and love of obliquity, fall somewhere between prose poetry and Venn diagrams. In her new collection, Kafka agonizes over the menu for a dinner date ("One man fights at Marathon, the other in the kitchen"), and death is approached as a grammatical problem ("Is he, once he is dead, still ‘he’?"). While some stories follow a nominal plot—two academics strolling through Oxford is as wild as it gets—others are not even a sentence long. ("Index Entry" reads, in its entirety, "Christian, I’m not a.") Strung together, they gain momentum as tiny epics of paranoia and ennui, each a snapshot of "a moment of madness during which the people could not bear the frustration of their lives."
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

More About the Author

Lydia Davis is the author of one novel and seven story collections, the most recent of which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. She is the acclaimed translator of a new edition of Swann's Way and is at work on a new translation of Madame Bovary.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Miss Tea on November 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Anyone glancing through this book who thinks "well, gee, I could just write a bunch of one-line stories or prose poems and be as smart as Lydia Davis" will find, if they actually attempt this project, that only Lydia Davis is as smart as Lydia Davis. Whether you read at random or in sequence, you will find your assumptions about fiction, story, and point-of-view seriously and subtly challenged by every piece in this collection. The shorter (as short as one line or indeed sentence fragments) pieces challenge the reader to interrogate the ample blank space for context and, of course, find none. On every page, the stylish ways Davis violates narrative conventions of form and substance just whets the craving for more of her relentlessly sharp, witty, varied prose. How can stories ostensibly structured as an anthropological or linguistic studies (or even a mess of notes) give us such heart-breaking insight into the vivid lives of characters who, in terms of the 'story,' are not even characters at all, but merely subjects? How can a non-story (two conference goers idly sharing a pleasant mental and physical ramble through history and literature) where nothing happens, nothing changes, and nothing is achieved inform us, so startlingly, about what a story actually *is*? Thank goodness people are still writing books that demand a reader actually exert the mental activity to *read*, and not just glance over words on a page.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Debnance at Readerbuzz on January 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Short stories? You call these short stories?

Well, it doesn't really matter what you label them....They are fun,
they are innovative, they zing your mind.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ben Swift on November 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Evidently some readers were disappointed in this collection because it in no way fits the standard story form. I loved it. I laughed out loud in places, while other parts were terribly sad and moving. Ms. Davis accomplishes a lot in as little as one line, and nothing longer than a few pages. As one reads this collection, and her other work, which I snatched up greedily upon finishing Varieties of Disturbance, the interior life of a fascinating woman comes edging nervously, reluctantly into the open.

I won't lie, there is some mental effort involved. I am not a snob, I enjoy thrillers and other page-turners. There is no action in these stories, just a lot of tension and humor. But when you are inclined to read something that is spare yet runs very deep, you could hardly do better than Lydia Davis. Varieties of Disturbance is sort of breaking in in the middle, but that is how I did it, quite by accident, and I wasn't put off.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating. I was unfamiliar with the writer until I read an article on her.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By sandra n. on August 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not for me - won't recommend it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?