Lydia Davis has been called "an American virtuoso of the short story form" (Salon) and an innovator who attempts to "remake the model of the modern short story" (The New York Times Book Review). As Time magazine observed, her stories are “moving [and] inevitable, as if she has written down what we were all on the verge of thinking ourselves.”
The thirty-four stories in Break it Down powerfully display what have become Lydia Davis's trademarks—dexterity, brevity, understatement, and surprise. Although the certainty of her prose suggests a world of almost clinical reason and clarity, her characters show us that life, thought, and language are full of disorder. Break It Down is Davis at her best—"an extraordinary technician of language, capable of revealing elusive human tendencies through the most unusual means" (Bookforum).