Mavis Gallant’s “His Mother” (1973)


Mavis Gallant’s first sentences are clear and purposeful: they orient readers and offer a glimpse of the story’s tone. “His mother had come of age in the war and then seemed to live a long greyness like a spun-out November.” Another remarkable aspect of her craft is the way

Mavis Gallant’s “His Mother” (1973)2018-12-18T15:14:34-05:00

My girlhood friend, Sheila, and the assigned reading she hated


When I was attending elementary school in an extremely small south-western Ontario town, my friend Sheila transferred to a slightly-larger-but-still-small town in south-western Ontario for the eighth grade. Her sister was attending high school in that town and somehow this made it possible for Sheila to escape. Neither of

My girlhood friend, Sheila, and the assigned reading she hated2018-12-18T15:34:11-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “Potter” (1977)


At first it is surprising. To come across the word ‘defenestration’ in a Mavis Gallant story. Often these are inward-looking stories, detailed and expansive glimpses into the interior lives of quiet – and often solitary – characters. Someone drives too quickly or protests the contents of a sermon, someone

Mavis Gallant’s “Potter” (1977)2018-12-12T14:53:51-05:00

Autumn 2018: In My Reading Log


Elisabeth Sanxay Holding’s The Blank Wall (1947) “It was a mystery story she had got out of the lending library for her father, and she was not fond of mystery stories. Nobody in them ever seems to feel sorry about murders, she had said.” How unfortunate that Lucia is

Autumn 2018: In My Reading Log2018-12-06T10:42:54-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “From the Fifteenth District”


“Although an epidemic of haunting, widely reported, spread through the Fifteenth District of our city last summer, only three acceptable complaints were lodged with the police.” Having read about half of Mavis Gallant’s short stories now, and never yet having met a ghost, imagine my surprise at finding three

Mavis Gallant’s “From the Fifteenth District”2018-12-05T14:54:07-05:00
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