The Observer talks to American writer Lydia Davis about the influence translating Proust had on her fiction
As The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis is published by Hamish Hamilton, William Skidelsky asks about the extreme brevity of some of her short works: '"I started writing the one-sentence stories when I was translating Swann's Way," she recalls. "There were two reasons. I had almost no time to do my own writing, but didn't want to stop. And it was a reaction to Proust's very long sentences. The sheer length of a thought of his didn't make me recoil exactly – I loved working on it – but it made me want to see how short a piece of fiction could be that would still have a point to it, and not just be a throwaway joke."'