In this story, Linnet is “seamless”, she is “as smooth as brass”. And she has returned to her godmother’s house, as a journalist, sent to conduct an interview. She has written down her assignment, like any other, without commenting that the woman is her godmother.Matt Artz
She is hesitant, concerned about a misstep. When she applied for this job initially, at the age of eighteen, she was told to return at the age of twenty-one. And, this she has done.
“I had longed for emancipation and independence, but I was learning that women’s autonomy is like a small inheritance paid out a penny at a time.’
In her notebook, she recorded her dreams of the future. “‘Whatever happens,’ I wrote, ‘it will be the Truth, nothing half-hearted, the Truth with a Capital T.’”
But there ae so many rules, rules she had not anticipated.
“Negative, defeatist and subversive are three of the things you have been cautioned not to be. The others are seditious, obscene, obscure, ironic, intellectual and impulsive.”
And she is constantly fighting a prejudice against her.
“Women, having no inborn sense of history, are known to invent absurd stories.”
Constantly aware of the systems in place to silence the disenfranchised.
“Churches and schools, banks and prisons, dwellings and railway stations were part of an imperial convallation that wound round the globe, designed to impress on the minds of indigenous populations that the builders had come to stay.”
In the conversation with Georgie, there is a moment in which Linnet considers whether the rules truly apply here. After all, this is her godmother.
“Why didn’t I come straight out with that? Because you can’t – not in that world. No one can have the last retort, not even when there is truth to it. Hints and reminders flutter to the ground in overheated winter rooms, lie stunned for a season, are reborn as everlasting grudges.”
And, just like that, the end of the sixth Linnet Muir story neatly intersects with the first.
Once again, Linnet is alone. Whole-heartedly disillusioned.
And that’s the Truth.
Home Truths Stories: Thank You for the Lovely Tea / Jorinda and Jorindel / Saturday / Up North / Orphans’ Progress / The Prodigal Parent / In the Tunnel / The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street / Bonaventure / Virus X / In Youth is Pleasure / Between Zero and One / Varieties of Exile / Voices Lost in Snow / The Doctor / With a Capital T
Note: This is part of a series of posts on Mavis Gallant’s stories, as I read through her short fiction. This is the final story in Home Truths. Please feel free to check the schedule and join in, for the series, or for a single story; I would love the company. Next collection: Overhead in a Balloon.