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A new collection of stories by Mavis Gallant is always a major publishing event. For this is the writer who-like Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro-has made Canadian short stories a presence on the world literary scene, and on our bestseller lists.In Across the Bridge four of the eleven stories are connected, following the fortunes of the Carette family in Montreal. In "1933" their widowed mother teaches Berthe and Marie to deny that she was a seamstress and to say instead that she was "clever with her hands." In "The Chosen Husband" the luckless suitor Louis has to undergo the front-parlour scrutiny of Marie's mother and sister: "But then Louis began to cough and had to cover his mouth. He was in trouble with a caramel. The Carettes looked away, so that he could strangle unobserved. 'How dark it is,' said Berthe, to let him think he could not be seen."We then follow their marriage, the birth of Raymond, and Raymond's flight from his mother and aunt to his eventual role as a motel manager in Florida. "'The place was full of Canadians,' he said. 'They stole like raccoons...'"With the exception of "The Fenton Child," an eerie story set in postwar Montreal, the other stories take place in the Paris Mavis Gallant knows so well. "Across the Bridge," the title story, begins with the narrator's mother throwing her reluctant daughter's wedding invitations into the Seine. "I watched the envelopes fall in a slow shower and land on the dark water and float apart. Strangers leaned on the parapet and stared, too, but nobody spoke."This is a superb collection of stories by a writer at the top of her form.From the Hardcover edition.
A New York Times Best Book of the Year: An arresting look at the way time can change familyOne of the greatest strengths of Mavis Gallant's writing is her ability to distill a character's emotions into a simple moment--a lingering glance or an unuttered word. Her flair for detail is everywhere in evidence in Across the Bridge, studies of Montreal and Paris over the last century. The primary focus of this story collection is the Carettes, a family of French Canadians who relocate to Paris before World War II. The two daughters, Marie and Berthe, could not be more different: Marie is traditional and quiet while Berthe is strong willed and open minded. But as they grow together, the two learn how much they truly have in common. Accompanying these stories of the Carettes are tales of growth and isolation at home and abroad, including one of a rebellious French-speaking Canadian girl growing up in the Anglophone area of the city. Another entry is focused on an anthropologist who, on a trip to a small country, finds a group of people who speak a language no one has ever heard before. Unfortunately, when he announces his discovery, no one believes him. Gallant's snapshots of life abroad create an indelible impression on her readers.
A New York Review Books OriginalMavis Gallant is renowned as one of the great short-story writers of our day. This new gathering of long-unavailable or previously uncollected work presents stories from 1951 to 1971 and shows Gallant's progression from precocious virtuosity, to accomplished artistry, to the expansive innovatory spirit that marks her finest work. "Madeleine's Birthday," the first of Gallant's many stories to be published in The New Yorker, pairs off a disaffected teenager, abandoned by her social-climbing mother, with a complacent middle-aged suburban housewife, in a subtly poignant comedy of miscommunication that reveals both characters to be equally adrift. "The Cost of Living," the extraordinary title story, is about a company of strangers, shipwrecked over a chilly winter in a Parisian hotel and bound to one another by animosity as much as by unexpected love. Set in Paris, New York, the Riviera, and Montreal and full of scrupulously observed characters ranging from freebooters and malingerers to runaway children and fashion models, Gallant's stories are at once satirical and lyrical, passionate and skeptical, perfectly calibrated and in constant motion, brilliantly capturing the fatal untidiness of life.
Mavis Gallant is admired and beloved as one of the masters of the modern short story. Selected from early collections and the New Yorker, where many of the author's stories have appeared over the last fifty years, and with an introduction by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Cost of Livingreveals a writer coming into her own. The stories span the first twenty years of a long career, from the poise and poignancy of her very first published story, 'Madeleine's Birthday' (1951), to the masterly exploration of the passage of time in the long story 'The Burgundy Weekend' (1971) that appears here in book form for the first time. Gallant's sensibility has always been cosmopolitan and these stories take us from Quebec to postwar Europe, via New York and New England, before settling, like their author, in Paris. Everywhere the book reveals Gallant's subtly penetrating psychological insight, wit and unsentimental sympathy for the excluded and the exiled, not to mention her wonderfully wicked sense of humour.
Cada cuento de esta genial escritora canadiense es un viaje a un lugar nuevo, donde el lector tiene la ocasión de sorprenderse y mirar su propia vida de manera distinta. Estos treinta y cinco relatos ofrecen un panorama cabal de su producción y nos introducen en sus pequeños universos de soledades, amores, exilios y desengaños: tenemos a una mujer abandonada por su marido, que se empeña en permanecer fiel al matrimonio; a un solterón que de pronto se ve avasallado por la ruidosa prole de su hermana, o a una joven que renuncia a la felicidad conyugal para dejarse llevar por el amor de un hombre que ha conocido solo por carta. Hombres y mujeres exiliados, recluidos en tierras extrañas o estancados en la sala de espera de una vida mejor.
The thirteen stories in "The End of the World and Other Stories" represent about a quarter of the short stories that Mavis Gallant has published in the past twenty years, and have been previously published in the New Yorker.
AN NYRB CLASSICS ORIGINAL Mavis Gallant's novels are as memorable as her renowned short stories. Full of wit and psychological poignancy, A Fairly Good Time, here with Green Water, Green Sky, encapsulates Gallant's unparalleled skill as a storyteller. Shirley Perrigny (née Norrington, then briefly Higgins), the heroine of A Fairly Good Time, is an original. Derided by the Parisians she lives among and chided by her fellow Canadians, this young widow--recently remarried to a French journalist named Philippe--is fond of quoting Jane Austen and Kingsley Amis and of using her myopia as a defense against social aggression. As the fixed points in Shirley's life begin to recede--Philippe having apparently though not definitively left--her freewheeling, makeshift, and self-abnegating ways come to seem an aspect of devotion to her fellow man. Could this unreliable protagonist be the unwitting heroine of her own story? Green Water, Green Sky, Gallant's first novel, is a darker tale of the fractured family life of Bonnie McCarthy, an American divorcée, and her daughter, Flor. Uprooted and unmoored, mother and daughter live like itinerants--in Venice, Cannes, and Paris--glamorous and dependent. With little hope of escape, Flor attempts to flee this untidy life and the false notes of her mother.
Set in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, the nine stories in this glittering collection reflect on the foibles and dilemmas of human relationships. An English family goes to the south of France for the sake of the father's health, and to get away from an England of rationing and poverty. A displaced person turned French soldier in Algeria now makes a living as an actor in Paris. A group of selfish English expatriates on the Italian Riviera are incredulous that Mussolini and the Germans may affect their lives. A great writer's quiet widow blossoms in widowhood, to the surprise and alarm of her children, who send a ten-year-old grandson to Switzerland to keep her company one Christmas. Full of wry humour and penetrating insights, this is Mavis Gallant at her most unforgettable.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Even as we grow and change, the consequences of what we have left behind often linger Mavis Gallant has a unique talent for distilling the sense of otherness one feels abroad into something tangible and utterly understandable. In this collection, she relates the stories of those stranded in relationships, places, and even times in which they don't belong. In "The Moslem Wife" a woman is entrusted to look after a hotel in France when her husband is trapped in America after the breakout of World War II. As the situation progresses, the two grow in surprising and profound ways. In another tale, a German prisoner of war is released from France and returns home to a mother whose personality has been as irrevocably changed by the war as his has. In one of the most poignant entries, Gallant follows the life of a Holocaust survivor, illustrating how his experiences tint his outlook on life forty years later. With its wide breadth of subject matter and the author's characteristic way with nuance, From the Fifteenth District is classic Mavis Gallant.
In Home Truths, Mavis Gallant draws us into the tricky labyrinth of human behaviour, while offering readers her unique, clear-eyed vision of Canadians both at home and abroad. Ranging in time and place from small-town Quebec during the Depression, to Geneva and Paris in the 1950s, to contemporary Vancouver Island, these stories explore the remorseless cruelty of children, the tensions that affect all families, the dangerous but endearing naïveté of young girls in love with Europe, and the terrible distances that divide people who love each other. And in the celebrated "Linnet Muir" stories, Gallant draws on her own experiences to portray a sensitive and alarmingly perceptive young girl growing up in Montreal in the 1930s and 1940s. Incisive, darkly humorous, and compassionate, Home Truths is a vibrant collection of stories from one of our finest writers.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The quilt of the Canadian experience is sewn by one of the nation's greatest treasures Canada is one of the world's most diverse and gorgeous countries, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, with a wealth of experiences and people to match its incredible size and breadth. The nation's impressive variety is on display in Home Truths, Mavis Gallant's ode to her home country through stories. Gallant moves effortlessly through time and place, taking the reader from Depression-era Quebec to 1950s Paris to contemporary Vancouver while dealing with the universal themes of the innocence of youth, intrafamily relations, and the expat's growing feeling of distance from home. The pinnacle of the collection is Gallant's moving Linnet Muir series, an autobiographical look at a young woman's return to Montreal at eighteen after living abroad.Home Truths is a compelling testament to Gallant's enduring grace and humor.
A collection of twenty stories that have previously appeared in the New Yorker. The stories are told in three parts, "Parents and Children", "Youth, Pursuit, and Various Entanglements" and "Relatives, Friends, and Adult Confusion".
"In Gallant's stories, the conflicts, obsessions, and concerns - the near-impossibility of gaining personal freedom without inflicting harm on those whom you love and who love you; the difficulty of forgiving a cruel and selfish parent without sentimentalizing him; or the pain of failed renewal - are limned with an affectionate irony and generated by a sincere belief in their ultimate significance, significance not just for the characters who embody them, but for the author and, presumably, the reader as well." -Russell Banks, from his introductionMavis Gallant is the modern master of what Henry James called the international story, the fine-grained evocation of the quandaries of people who must make their way in the world without any place to call their own. The complexity of the very idea of home is alive in the stories Gallant has written about Montreal. Montreal Stories, Russell Banks's new selection from Gallant's work demonstrates anew the remarkable reach of this writer's singular art. Among its contents are three previously unpublished stories, as well as the celebrated semi-autobiographical sequence about Linnet Muir - stories that are wise, funny, and full of insight into the perils and promise of growing up and breaking loose.From the Trade Paperback edition.
A collection of 11 short stories by Mavis Gallant.
These twelve stories are set in Paris, Mavis Gallant's adopted home, a city whose nuances she brings to life through a wide range of characters: squabbling writers, bewildered parents, scheming art dealers, beleaguered tenants, and feckless drifters. An artist's widow proves more than a match for Sandor Speck, who hopes to make a name for himself with her late husband's paintings. Literary rivals Prism and Grippes, the protégés of a rich, misguided American patron, battle across the years. And in the Magdalena stories, a man is caught in the pull of loyalties between his beautiful first wife from a marriage of political conscience, and the woman he truly loves. Elegant, concise, finely textured, these stories never relax the tension between detachment and compassion, understanding and mystery, memory and truth. With remarkable intelligence and an unfailing eye for the telling detail, Gallant weaves stories of intricate simplicity and spare complexity.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The City of Lights, as seen by one of its greatest citizens and admirers Paris has been inspiring writers for centuries. Its neighborhoods and people make for a never-ending flow of potential stories. Mavis Gallant, Canadian by birth but Parisian since the 1950s, has created an incredibly loving and accomplished tribute to her adoptive home. In this collection, Gallant illustrates the surprising sense of interconnectedness that comes from living in a big city, as characters from one story drift into another, disappearing only to pop up again much later. The book's longest work depicts a wily art dealer looking to revive his business by "discovering" an obscure painter, despite the fact that the artist is both Canadian and no longer living. Other tales depict the experiences of the Pugh family, as its American relatives attempt to connect with their French roots.Overhead in a Balloon weaves together the threads and experiences of a multitude of Parisians, each story suffused with Gallant's feel for detail and atmosphere.
A NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS ORIGINALMavis Gallant is a contemporary legend, a frequent contributor to The New Yorkerfor close to fifty years who has, in the words of The New York Times, "radically reshaped the short story for decade after decade." Michael Ondaatje's new selection of Gallant's work gathers some of the most memorable of her stories set in Europe and Paris, where Gallant has long lived. Mysterious, funny, insightful, and heartbreaking, these are tales of expatriates and exiles, wise children and straying saints. Together they compose a secret history, at once intimate and panoramic, of modern times.
In these dazzling stories, Mavis Gallant immerses us in the lives of ordinary people swept up in the upheaval and displacement that followed in the wake of the Second World War. A bitter yet stubbornly pragmatic woman prepares for what promises to be another disastrous Christmas with her mother, her aunt, and her would-be-war-hero uncle. Engaged to another man, a woman travels to Paris with her older lover and his young son. A wife recollects her complicated relationship with the refugee woman who had a brief affair with her husband. Small mercies form the backbone of a friendship between an actress and a police commissioner. A career soldier, now discharged and stranded in France, makes his first adjustments to life as a civilian. In elegant, diamond-sharp prose, Gallant distills the vanities, absurdities, and contradictions that lie at the heart of human behavior and fashions stories of rare power and insight.From the Trade Paperback edition.
A devastating collection exploring the wake of mankind's greatest conflict World War II exerted a psychic toll on Europe that is still evident today. The Pegnitz Junction is Mavis Gallant's look at how Europe handles that collective pain. In the title novella of this sharply written collection, a girl rides the train with her boyfriend and his son in postwar Europe. Onboard, she encounters all manner of personalities, each person burdened by the weight of what he or she has just experienced, openly bleeding from the emotional wounds of a terrifying global conflict. A wife must come to terms with her husband's mistakes and find reconciliation in herself as she meets the refugee he had an affair with. A soldier must reintegrate himself into civilian life, no matter how difficult it is. An unlikely friendship between an actress and a police commissioner begins to form. No matter where or when Gallant's stories are set, each one is a small enchantment, anchored by the insights of a master of her craft.
'Stories are not chapters of novels. They should not be read one after another, as if they were meant to follow along. Read one. Shut the book. Read something else. Come back later. Stories can wait' Mavis Gallant In 1950, THE NEW YORKER accepted one of Mavis Gallant's short stories for publication and she has since become the one of the most accomplished and respected short story writers of her time. Gallant is an undisputed master whose peerless prose captures the range of human experience in her sweeping portraits set in Europe in the second half of the last century. An expatriate herself, her stories deal with exile, displacement, of love and of estranged emotions, but they are never conventional. This collection of fifty-two stories, written between 1953 and 1995, is timeless, to be savoured and re-read.
Mavis Gallant is the modern master of what Henry James called the international story, the fine-grained evocation of the quandaries of people who must make their way in the world without any place to call their own. The irreducible complexity of the very idea of home is especially at issue in the stories Gallant has written about Montreal, where she was born, although she has lived in Paris for more than half a century. Varieties of Exile, Russell Banks's extensive new selection from Gallant's work, demonstrates anew the remarkable reach of this writer's singular art. Among its contents are three previously uncollected stories, as well as the celebrated semi-autobiographical sequence about Linnet Muir--stories that are wise, funny, and full of insight into the perils and promise of growing up and breaking loose.