Spring 1999 • Vol. XXI No. 2 Book ReviewsApril 1, 1999 |

Almost No Center

Almost No Memory By Lydia Davis. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. 194 pages. $21. Break It Down by Lydia Davis. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986. 177 pages. $14.95. The End of the Story by Lydia Davis. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1995. 231 pages. $20. Where does life leave off and art begin? Or, rather, how can you catch the moment of transformation, when autobiography is suddenly fiction? It's like the view out the airplane window on takeoff—the way it's suddenly in a different dimension from the one you're in. You can never catch the moment when the mess on the runways and the ugly maintenance buildings become fascinating toys in a suddenly revealed pattern. Spread out below, your former context expands, revealing highways as ribbons of red and yellow light, suburban swimming pools as scattered blue squares and discs. Like the jump into fiction, it's a bit of a joke: it could be magic, but it's just a bunch of physical principles the viewer has to

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Patricia Vigderman
Patricia Vigderman’s most recent book is The Real Life of the Parthenon (Ohio State University Press, 2018). She is the author of Possibility: Essays Against Despair (Sarabande, 2013) and The Memory Palace of Isabella Stewart Gardner (Sarabande, 2007). She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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