New Yorker Writer James Wood's Best Books Of 2009

I was excited, this year, by Lydia Davis's "Collected Stories" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a beautiful collection of original writings. Though Davis is the least confessional of writers (in some ways), her presence is insistently and increasingly felt in this collection, which develops the aspect, almost, of a commonplace book, or book of Montaigne-like essays. (Several late stories deal unsentimentally with the deaths of her mother and father.) Davis is funny, tart, self-deprecating (even self-loathing), and very playful.

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