Following Mavis Gallant’s death on February 18th, 2014, Margaret Atwood contributed this to a remembrance in “The Globe and Mail”:
“”Mavis Gallant was a wonderful writer, a sharp observer of human nature, a formidable conversationalist, and an indomitable spirit who made her own way, often uphill. She was funny, quirky, and prickly if you crossed her, but kind underneath it, especially to underdogs. Her unique voice will be much missed.”
Now that I’ve read 53 of her 123 short stories, I feel as though I am getting to know her a little, reading between the lines of her fiction. Not peering for autobiographical elements (although sometimes I do catch a glimpse) but watching for what she notices, what she troubles to observe and record.
From the Fifteenth District was published in hard cover in 1979, and the “Toronto Star” review claimed it “brings us Mavis Gallant at the height of her powers” and “set the literary world afire”.
The collection contains the following stories: The Four Seasons NOV1 / The Moslem Wife NOV7 / The Remission NOV14 / The Latehomecomer NOV21 / Baum, Gabriel, 1935 — NOV28 / From the Fifteenth District DEC5 / Potter DEC12 / His Mother DEC19 / Irina DEC26