Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Captive Neice - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant - 1969

The Captive Neice - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant

This story is included in two collections, In Transit and The Collected Short Stories of Mavis Gallant

Mavis Gallant

April 11, 1922 - Montreal

1950 - moves to Paris

September 1, 1951- publishes, in The New Yorker, her first short story.  She would publish 116 stories in The New Yorker. 

February 18, 2014 - passes away in her beloved Paris

I am reading along as best I can, having access to only about half of her stories, with Buried in Print on their read through of the Short Stories of Mavis Gallant.  

"The Captive Neice" has two central characters, a woman, guessing in her early twenties and a man, her loved and maybe can be seen as her captor, thirty nine years old.  For sure you will find him very annoying.  At first he keeps calling himself an old man then it is revealed he is just thirty nine.  The woman was raised by her aunt, her parents having passed.  The live together in a low rent hotel.  He stays in an reads and smoked cigarettes, the room reeks of them but it is too cold to open the window.

We are left to our imagination in deciding how their relationship began, where their money comes from and 
perhaps most of all, why the woman does not just move on.  She is 
pursuing a job in the theater.  The man seems to know the exalted man for whom she is auditioning.  They have words over this.

This is another story about a relationship that on the face of it makes little sense.  We are left to ponder the couple's 
past and future.

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

Hah! Yes, he is annoying. But, then again, he's not feeling well, and that does make one cranky and irritable, I suppose.

I remember thinking that about some of the female characters in her stories too, the way that the women view themselves as being sooooo old...and then you find out they're in their later twenties! LOL