Three Deaths and One Observation

by Lydia Davis

A dog walking over a piece of warm pavement was electrocuted. His hair stood on end, he yelped, he ran a few feet, and he fell over dead. The vet who later examined him said his lungs were full of blood.

Miss Jawbone of Manitoba was clinically dead for four hours, lying in a snowbank in the street without an overcoat in temperatures that dropped below minus 30 degrees. Although at the time of her discovery she had no heartbeat, she was later revived. It was found that her brain was frozen enough not to be damaged by this.

An Inuit woman, suffering from severe depression, smothered her child with a handful of snow.

You can never be so dead that you don’t hear the cawing of the crows.

Lydia Davis’s latest collection of short fiction was Can’t and Won’t (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014). Her ESSAYS ONE will be published by FSG in November and a volume of her translations, from the Dutch, of the very short stories of A.L. Snijders by New Directions in 2020.

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