domingo, 12 de septiembre de 2021

Mavis Gallant

Mavis Gallant






A Biography of Mavis Gallant
(1922 - 2014)

Although she has lived in Paris since 1950, Mavis Gallant remains one of Canada's most prolific and admired short story writers.

Mavis Gallant's Early Life

Mavis Gallant was born in Montreal in 1922 as an only child. Since the age of four, Gallant attended 17 different schools in Quebec, Ontario and the United States. The first school Gallant attended, a French-language convent school, was on the same street as her own home. Despite the proximity to her own home, she was a boarder at this school.

When Gallant was 10 years old, her father passed away while in England. It wasn't until the age of 13 that Gallant was told of her father's passing. Her mother later remarried.

From the Montreal Standard to the New Yorker

Fiercely independent and eager to live her own life devoted to writing, Gallant began her career in journalism at a young age at a time when women in the profession were uncommon. When she was 18 years old, she returned to Canada from New York, where she was attending school. She had an interview at the Montreal Standard, where she was told she was too young and advised to gain more experience. Gallant took a job with the National Film Board and, in 1944 at the age of 21, began working at the Standard as a feature reporter. At the age of 20, underage at the time, she married Winnipeg musician John Gallant, though the marriage ended in divorce after five years.

In 1950, Gallant moved to Europe, soon settling in France. Shortly thereafter, the New Yorker magazine published the first short story in what would become a 50-year relationship between Gallant and the esteemed publication. Gallant has published over 100 short stories, many of which were first seen in the New Yorker.

Mavis Gallant

Paul Bailey on Mavis Gallant:
'She was a truth teller, in her life and her work'

The Guardian, 19 February 2014

In his fine obituary of Mavis Gallant, Christopher Hawtree observes that her father died young. The news of his suicide was kept from her for several years. She was 14 when she learned that he was not "in England", as Mavis's mother had informed her.

"I waited every day for a letter 'from England' from my father, and for a ring at the door; every time a car or a taxi stopped, I thought he would emerge and announce he had at last come to fetch me."

I am quoting from a letter she sent me, in which she describes her feelings of belated, and buried, grief. She never forgave her mother for what she considered an act of cruel duplicity. From an early age, this shrewd, wonderful writer was made aware of the complex nature of human behaviour. Mavis was always a truth teller, in her life and in her work.

Mavis Gallant

The Legacy of Mavis Gallant

Mavis Gallant’s elegantly-written stories about expatriates coming to terms with unfamiliar locales and situations have earned her many awards and accolades. In 1981, she was made Officer of the Order of Canada. The next year, she won the Governor-General's Award forHome Truths: Selected Canadian Stories. Gallant returned to Canada briefly in 1983 when she served as writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto. She has been the recipient of several other awards and prizes for her fiction. In 1993, Gallant was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada.

Though not achieving notoriety in her home country until the 1970s, Mavis Gallant has become one of Canada’s most widely-respected writers of short fiction. Donna Coates, in her article for The Canadian Encyclopedia, notes Gallant’s focus “on expatriates . . . who have been displaced from their cultural milieu through choice or circumstance; lacking a clear sense of direction, they are adrift as permanent tourists, eking out miserable lives in run-down European hotels and pensions.” CBC journalist Eleanor Wachtel has said of Gallant’s prose, “There’s something just about perfect about it. Every word is right.”

Mavis Gallant Selected Bibliography

The Other Paris (1956)
Green Water, Green Sky (1959)
My Heart is Broken (1964)
A Fairly Good Time (1970)
The Pegnitz Junction (1973)
The End of the World and Other Stories (1974)
From the Fifteenth District: A Novella and Eight Stories (1979)
Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories (1981)
Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris (1985)
Paris Notebooks: Essays and Reviews (1986)
In Transit (1988)
Across the Bridge (1993)
Paris Stories (2002)


Donna Coates. Gallant, Mavis Leslie. The Canadian Encyclopedia. 21 January 2009

"Mavis Gallant." Writers & Company. CBC Radio One. 19 January 2008.

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