Mavis Gallant’s “Questions and Answers” (1965)


Flickering and Imprecise: the first words I jotted down, while reading this Mavis Gallant story. It struck me that perhaps one of the reasons that her stories have endured is that her style is uncluttered and direct: there aren’t a lot of adjectives or adverbs, so when something –

Mavis Gallant’s “Questions and Answers” (1965)2020-01-07T11:19:34-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “The Statues Taken Down” (1965)


Readers never meet her directly, but we are told that she looks like the Holbein portrait of Lady Barker. (Here shown in such a way that it’s easy to imagine a wallet photo.) This is the mother of Hal and Dorothy. Once George Crawley’s wife. On the surface, this

Mavis Gallant’s “The Statues Taken Down” (1965)2019-12-24T08:18:22-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “In Transit”


An airport is as good as a train for setting a story in, when that story is about change. So here we are, in the Helsinki airport for this very short, titular story by Mavis Gallant. (And can I just say: how wonderful is the ‘net for locating images,

Mavis Gallant’s “In Transit”2019-12-23T20:15:50-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “The Circus” (1964)


“The Circus” considers the tensions between expectations and reality. Often, when that theme emerges in a Mavis Gallant story, the focus is a relationship. That is true of “The Circus” as well. On the surface, this story appears to be about Laurie’s expectations about the circus. He has seen

Mavis Gallant’s “The Circus” (1964)2019-12-23T18:41:03-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “The Hunter’s Waking Thoughts”


At first glance, I think that Digby, from the previous story “A Question of Disposal”, is a world apart from Colin Graves in this story. Consider how Digby’s mother, Mrs. Glover, imagines him, carrying on after her death. She isn’t particularly complimentary: “He would continue driving about in hairy

Mavis Gallant’s “The Hunter’s Waking Thoughts”2019-12-10T16:00:23-05:00