Samuel Johnson Is Indignant Stories

Lydia Davis




Trade Paperback

216 Pages



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ALA Notable Book of the Year
A Village Voice Favorite Book of the Year

From one of our most imaginative and inventive writers comes a crystalline collection of perfectly modulated, sometimes harrowing, and often hilarious investigations into the multifaceted ways in which human beings perceive one another and themselves. A couple suspects their friends think them boring: a woman resolves to see herself as nothing but then concludes she's set too high a goal; and a funeral home receives a letter rebuking it for linguistic errors. Lydia Davis once again proves to be, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, "one of the quiet giants in the world of American fiction."


Praise for Samuel Johnson Is Indignant

"Davis might be thought of as an erudite stand-up comedian, one who works, philosophers' conferences instead of nightclubs . . . Samuel Johnson Is indignant is Montaigne in a minimalist mood."—The New York Times Book Review

"Davis should be counted among the true originals of contemporary American short fiction."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Davis deploys her gift for verbal bemusement, annoyance, and high anxiety . . . [and] converts her characters' complex ruminations into narratives full of insight and pleasure."—The Village Voice

"In deadpan prose, Davis turns philosophical snippets into fiction, with moving results . . . Davis's stories are as clear as children's books and somehow inevitable, as if she has written what we were all on the verge of thinking ourselves."—Time

"Her stories are intellectual and playful, and rigorous as brainteasers."—Bookforum

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

We know only four boring people. The rest of our friends we find very interesting. However, most of the friends we find interesting find us boring: the most interesting find us the most...

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  • Lydia Davis

  • Lydia Davis is the author of one novel and seven story collections, including Varieties of Disturbance, which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. Winner of the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, she is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and her translations of modern writers including Maurice Blanchot, Michel Leiris, and Marcel Proust.