Saturday, February 27, 2010
Paris Stories : Mavis Gallant
This short story collection by Mavis Gallant, expat Canadian writer, was edited and introduced by Michael Ondaatje, another Canadian legend. Like Gertrude Stein's Paris, France this collection strikes me as very modern although most of it was written long ago. The stories are set in various European locales and many of the characters are rootless but the dilemmas in which they find themselves are universal and timeless. I have tried to read Gallant before and found her work stuffy and dated; I gave up. Maybe I chose the wrong work, perhaps I wasn't mature enough to appreciate her nuanced style. Well, I'm now as mature as I'm going to get and this is a damned good collection. Her writing is elegant and evocative with wit shining through. The Moslem Wife and August were two of my favourites, perhaps because they so perfectly capture an air of dislocation. I finally feel like I'm ready for more Mavis Gallant and say "Bring it on."