by Lydia Davis
Each new day, when they come out from the far side of the barn, it is like the next act, or the start of an entirely new play.
They amble out from the far side of the barn with their rhythmic, graceful walk, and it is an occasion, like the start of a parade.
Sometimes the second and third come out in stately procession while the first has stopped and stands still, staring.
They come out from behind the barn as though something is going to happen, and then nothing happens.
Or we pull back the curtain in the morning and they are already there, in the early sunlight.
They are a deep, inky black. It is a black that swallows
Their bodies are entirely black, but they have white on their faces. On the faces of two of them, there are large patches of white, like a mask. On the face of the third, there is only a small patch on the forehead, the size of a silver dollar.
They are motionless until they move again, one foot and then another—fore, hind, fore, hind—and stop in another place, motionless again.
Praise for Lydia Davis"Lydia Davis is one of the quiet giants in the world of American fiction. Her language has such an inspiring air that it's difficult to read without putting her book face down and writing yourself."
—Benjamin Weissmann, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Reading Lydia Davis, one of America's foremost innovators of short fiction, is like reading good French prose: sensibility pared to the bone, sober wryness that ruthlessly rejects platitudes."
—Greg Burkman, The Seattle Times
"Lydia Davis has been considered an American virtuoso of the short story form since the publication of her first major collection, "Break It Down" which was met with unreserved critical acclaim." "Introspective and subversive, ironic and playful, obsessive and funny, Davis' stories reveal the ratcheting of the imagination and the ineffable movement of the mind over the varied textures of daily life."
—Kate Moses, Salon
"[S]he works at ... an attempt to remake the model of the modern short story."
—Liam Callanan, The New York Times Book Review
Special thanks to Electric Literature