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Book Review – Our Strangers by Lydia Davis

"A brilliant collection that affirms Davis as an observational writer."

Our Strangers, Lydia Davis’ latest short story collection, covers tales about tiny insects, golf ball art, and marriage betrayals. Renowned for her unique voice and deft, experimental touches, this work is no different. Spotting the nuances of living, Our Strangers adds claim to her astuteness and fondness for the art of language and form, as we embrace sparse, sometimes sentence-long, short stories, peppered with the most gorgeous prose.

Our Strangers allows readers to tune into strangers’ conversations voyeuristically, becoming a fly on the wall in many scenarios. With sparse use of language delivered with intention, the collection satisfies and rarely delivers more than the reader wishes for.

Whether it’s , ‘Young Housewife’ is a seven-line stanza that vividly depicts someone’s self-perception changing, one of the many ‘Claim to Fames’ stories (which parody people’s connection to the barely famous) or the cunning ‘Pardon the Intrusion’ (which observes social media buyers and sellers), these stories each hit the spot individually and as part of a whole. The range in style and technique is notable, from the four-line stanza to the five-page short stories, all with the air and voice of a woman on the periphery, observing society.

Our Strangers is a brilliant collection that affirms Davis as an observational writer who understands the value of giving the reader space with her sparsity of words.

Our Strangers: Stories is out now, published by Canongate. Buy here.

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