Big rejoicing: Lydia Davis has won the Man Booker International prize. Never did a book award deliver such a true match-winning punch. Best of all, a new audience will read her now and find her wit, her vigour and rigour, her funniness, her thoughtfulness, and the precision of form, which mark Davis out as unique.
Daring, excitingly intelligent and often wildly comic [she] reminds you, in a world that likes to bandy its words about, what words such as economy, precision and originality really mean. This is a writer as mighty as Kafka, as subtle as Flaubert and as epoch-making, in her own way, as Proust.
A two-liner from Davis, or a seemingly throwaway paragraph, will haunt. What looks like a game will open to deep seriousness; what looks like philosophy will reveal playfulness, tragicomedy, ordinariness; what looks like ordinariness will ask you to look again at Davis's writing. In its acuteness, it always asks attentiveness, and it repays this by opening up to its reader like possibility, or like a bush covered in flowerheads.