The thirty-four stories in this seminal collection 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. In the words of Jonathan Franzen, she is "a magician of self-consciousness."
In The News
"Autobiographical in texture, introspective in tone, these stories are grounded in sufficient detail to offer a peephole into a distinct fictional world; and in doing so, they attest to the author's gift as an observer and archivist of emotion."—The New York Times
"An American virtuoso of the short story form."—Salon
"Davis is one of the most precise and economical writers we have."—Dave Eggers, McSweeney's
"The best prose stylist in America."—Rick Moody
"[Davis has] a capacity to make language unleash entire states of existence."—Siddhartha Deb, The New York Times