‘Odd Behavior’ by Lydia Davis

Odd Behavior by Lydia Davis, 1997

The magic trick:

Using a detailed image to create a story in the reader’s imagination far broader than the word count of the text

This is true flash fiction. The story is 46 words long. And still we get details. The details are what makes it work, in fact.

The small pieces of Kleenex in the narrator’s ears. We can picture this. The image sticks. So that well beyond 46 words, we can imagine what this person might be doing.

And that’s quite a trick on Davis’s part.

The selection:

You see how circumstances are to blame. I am not really an odd person if I put more and more small pieces of shredded kleenex in my ears and tie a scarf around my head: when I lived alone I had all the silence I needed.

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