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.
About the author
Mavis Gallant (1922–2014) once told an interviewer that she could no more stop being Canadian than she could change the colour of her eyes. Born in Montreal, she left a career as a leading journalist in that city to move to Paris in 1950 to write.
She published stories on a regular basis in The New Yorker, many of which were anthologized. Her worldwide reputation was established by books such as From The Fifteenth District and Home Truths, which won the Governor General’s Award in 1982. In that same year she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, becoming a Companion of the Order in 1993, the year she published Across the Bridge and was the recipient of a special tribute at the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors in Toronto. She received several honorary degrees from Canadian universities and remained a much sought-after public speaker.