Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Davis' Flaubert

Is it too soon to start nominating best-of-the-year titles?  Lydia Davis' long awaited translation of Flaubert is out and it's a doozy.  I read it once on a recent flight to Los Angeles and once on the way back, undistracted by the snowcapped volcanoes and flake-blue lakes passing by below.  Davis' English sentences are flinty and precise.  Coupled with Flaubert's exemplary psychological realism -- every character in the book is broken differently, and every word they speak affirms it -- it's an unbeatable combination.