From the Fifteenth District by Mavis Gallant with Giveaway

Welcome to my stop highlighting this lovely short story collection from Mavis Gallant. Please be sure to check out the other tour stops, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win an eBook copy of the title (one  winner, US only)

Book Review:

A collection of short stories set in Europe after the end of World War II, these nine stories all deserve to be savored and read with time after to ponder and absorb the nuances. Mavis Gallant has a deft hand with construction of a short story, a skill that is apparent and highlighted with her clever use of description and emotive prose that brings forth the characters in ways that highlight the deprivations, relief and struggle each endured after the war.

Every word in a short story must count for something, often doing double duty to enlighten and instill a sense of the place or the person for the reader. What emerges is the humanity and the several ways in which we are all not so different, despite circumstances or actions.  These are not the famous or lauded of the war years: each story is a ‘normal’ person, insignificant in the grand scheme but star of their own particular stories. These are stories of survival and perseverance against odds, some circumstantial, others self-imposed, and each brings plenty of fuel for imagination and empathy.

These are some masterfully crafted stories, bound to please fans of the genre, and a wonderful example for those new to short stories of how they should be written. Gallant has a tone that is varies between flippant or nonchalant, as if the characters are reacting to their situations, or the narration is simply an uninvolved being retelling what they see without great attachment. Yes, many are somber, and all seem to have a common them of not letting go, but the overall impression leaves you wanting more writing in this manner, even as each story stands alone perfectly well.

From the Fifteenth District by Mavis Gallant with Giveaway

Title: From the Fifteenth District
Author: Mavis Gallant
Published on: 16 December, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 242
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon iTunes Kobo Downpour
See this Title on Goodreads

Even as we grow and change, the consequences of what we have left behind often linger

Mavis Gallant has a unique talent for distilling the sense of otherness one feels abroad into something tangible and utterly understandable. In this collection, she relates the stories of those stranded in relationships, places, and even times in which they don’t belong.

In “The Moslem Wife” a woman is entrusted to look after a hotel in France when her husband is trapped in America after the breakout of World War II. As the situation progresses, the two grow in surprising and profound ways. In another tale, a German prisoner of war is released from France and returns home to a mother whose personality has been as irrevocably changed by the war as his has. In one of the most poignant entries, Gallant follows the life of a Holocaust survivor, illustrating how his experiences tint his outlook on life forty years later.

With its wide breadth of subject matter and the author’s characteristic way with nuance, From the Fifteenth District is classic Mavis Gallant.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


About Mavis Gallant

Canadian journalist and fiction writer. In her twenties, Gallant worked as a reporter for the Montreal Standard. She left journalism in 1950 to pursue fiction writing. To that end, always needing autonomy and privacy, she moved to France.

In 1981, Gallant was honoured by her native country and made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to literature. That same year she also received the Governor General's Award for literature for her collection of stories, Home Truths. In 1983-84, she returned to Canada as the University of Toronto's writer-in-residence. In 1991 Queen’s University awarded her an honorary LL.D. In 1993 she was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada.

In 1989, Gallant was made a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2000, she won the Matt Cohen Prize, and in 2002 the Rea Award for the Short Story. The O. Henry Prize Stories of 2003 was dedicated to her. In 2004, Gallant was awarded a Lannan Literary Fellowship.

With Alice Munro, Gallant was one of a few Canadian authors whose works regularly appeared in The New Yorker. Many of Gallant’s stories had debuted in the magazine before subsequently being published in a collection.

Although she maintained her Canadian citizenship, Gallant continued to live in Paris, France since the 1950s.

On November 8, 2006, Mavis Gallant received the Prix Athanase-David from the government of her native province of Quebec. She was the first author writing in English to receive this award in its 38 years of existence.

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