Monday, September 09, 2013

Reader's Diary #1062- Lydia Davis: The Mice

Lydia Davis made headlines this year when she won the fifth Man Booker International Prize. She is best known for her incredibly short pieces that many refer to as stories. I'm a fan of flash fiction. I do believe that a complete and well-written story can be told in a few short lines. In fact, I'd rather a six sentence story than those mini-novellas Alice Munro tries to pass off as short stories.

So, if Davis's win brings more attention to flash fiction, I'm okay with it. However, after reading a lot of her work online, I'm not convinced that what she does isn't more akin to short, free-form or prose poetry. If what she does is artistic (it is), I'm sure that many would argue that the label is unimportant. I'll agree to some extent, but I'd just be nervous that someone making up his/ her mind on flash fiction based on Davis's work would not be making an informed decision. Then, if someone is so quick to judgement as that, I guess they're not worthy of the debate in the first place.

In any case, I'll link here to five of Davis' so-called stories. While I don't have a well hammered down short story definition in my head, only "The Mice" and possibly "Fear" register as anything near that definition. I quite enjoyed "The Mice." It's about a person wondering why the mice in her walls don't bother invading her kitchen. She acknowledges that this should be a good thing, but can't help but feel a little insulted. Her theory on why this might be is quite interesting and call it crazy, but I took it to be a metaphor for the internet and why, despite all the information at our fingertips (or clicks on a mouse), we're not getting any smarter.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)

1 comment:

Loni said...

I read a short short story too, but not as short as The Mice. That was an interesting story...

Here's my post: