October 18, 2004

Avram Davidson

Category: Literature :: Permalink

Speaking of stories, I just finished The Avram Davidson Treasury. Avram Davidson was an amazing writer. He’s generally billed as a fantasy and science fiction, though he also wrote a fair number of mysteries as well as a lot of stories that don’t fall easily into any category.

Of the stories in this treasury (and a treasurey it is indeed), the ones I most enjoyed include

* The Golem
* Help! I Am Dr. Morris Goldpepper
* Now Let Us Sleep
* Or All the Seas with Oysters
* Take Wooden Indians
* Where Do You Live, Queen Esther?
* The Sources of the Nile
* The Price of a Charm; or, The Lineaments of Gratified Desire
* Polly Charms, the Sleeping Woman
* And Don’t Forget the One Red Rose
* Crazy Old Lady
* The Last Wizard

But all of Davidson’s stories are rich. Davidson loved words. He loved the way words sound together and the way one word reminds you of another. He appears to have been quite learned, but his scholarship is never heavy handed. Above all, his stories are fun to read (and to read out loud).

It’s just too bad that he is routinely ignored in academic settings. You won’t usually hear him mentioned in short story classes, though he’s frequently compared to Saki, John Collier, and others whose work is mentioned. But that’s fine. Universities may not have discovered him, but I have. I greatly enjoyed this Treasury, and I’ll be reading more Avram Davidson in the future.

And now I’m reading Gene Wolfe‘s Pandora by Holly Hollander and occasionally dipping into the stories of Bernard Malamud.

Posted by John Barach @ 8:46 pm | Discuss (0)

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