Odd Behavior – Lydia Davis
Something different: The review for this story threatens to be longer than the story itself. There’s short stories and then there’s really short stories. Odd Behaviour is so short I can quote it in full here:
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.
Odd Behavior first appeared in the 1997 collection ‘Almost No Memory’ and has been recently illustrated in the Paris Review as part of their celebration of Davis’ work: click here
“In two sentences Davis tells us everything we need to know about how the subject of her brief tale is feeling. In the story we don’t even know if they are male or female – Hallie Bateman’s illustration in the Paris Review portrays her as a girl – but that doesn’t matter, the feeling of a need to escape is universal. We don’t know if this is a momentary, passing need for silence, or a deeper cry for release and freedom, but we can all sympathise on some level with the frustration that the girl’s actions reveal. In reality what appears at first strange is anything but odd behavior.”
The SHORT TALE Review 2016