> Skip to content
  • Published: 5 June 2014
  • ISBN: 9780241968079
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

Can't And Won't

A new collection from one of the greatest short story writers alive

Lydia Davis has been universally acclaimed for the wit, insight and genre-defying formal inventiveness of her sparkling stories.

With titles like 'A Story of Stolen Salamis', 'Letters to a Frozen Pea Manufacturer', 'A Small Story About a Small Box of Chocolates', and 'Can't and Won't', the stories in this new collection illuminate particular moments in ordinary lives and find in them the humorous, the ironic and the surprising.

Above all the stories revel in and grapple with the joys and constraints of language - achieving always the extraordinary, unmatched precision which makes Lydia Davis one of the greatest contemporary writers on the international stage.

  • Published: 5 June 2014
  • ISBN: 9780241968079
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

About the author

Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis is the author of one novel and several collections of short fiction, the latest of which is Samuel Johnson Is Indignant. She is also the translator of numerous works from the French by, among others, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve and Michel Leiris, and was recently named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.

Also by Lydia Davis

See all

Praise for Can't And Won't

To read Davis is to become a co-conspirator in her way of existing in the world, perplexity combined with vivid observation . . . In a universe drowning in words, Davis is a respite. What she doesn't say is as important as what she does

New York Times Book Review

Can't and Won't is the most revolutionary collection of stories by an American in twenty-five years

John Freeman, Boston Globe

Short, shorter and brilliant: a unique and dazzling body of work


Astonishing, touching, memorable, extraordinary . . . Even at her most poetic Davis is a storyteller


Profound, beautiful, moving . . . You will go back to a little gem that has wormed its way into your mind and stuck there, and discover that it is indeed a little gem, which sparkles a different way each time and flashes with a brief beauty or hidden meaning

Susan Hill, Spectator

Psychological richness, frequent poignancy . . . Davis hints insistently at how abundant nothingness can be when we bother to look at it

Joshua Cohen, Times Literary Supplement

Can't and Won't shows Davis using precise language to articulate the kind of ideas and impressions which are usually left to float around the subconscious

Max Liu, The Independent

I am also a massive fan of Lydia Davis so was really excited about Can't and Won't

Lauren Mayberry, The Observer

Related titles