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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

"The Fifteenth District" - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant - first published October 30, 1978 in The New Yorker

August 11, 1922 born in Montréal, in 1950 she moves to France to pursue her dream of being a writer

February 18, 2014, dies in Paris, a place she dearly loved

Buried in Print, a Blog I have happily followed for years, is embarked on a grand project, a read through of all of the 
nearly two hundred Short Stories of Mavis Gallant.  I have access to about half of the stories and am Reading along as I can.  

"The Fifteenth District", first published in The New Yorker October 30, 1978 (reprinted as the title story in a collection of Paris based stories) is one of the weirdest or her stories, showing a dark sense of humor one has to look for in her work to find.  Featuring three ghosts, presented as if their reality is taken for granted, I think Gallant is showing us how post World War Two Paris was full of ghosts, of haunted memories of those with still strong ties to the living.  I learned from the post of Buried in Print that there is no Fifteenth District in Paris.  The fictional one seems to have a lot of the displaced poor, foreigners with no strong claim to be in Paris.  I wondered why she made up a district?

What made this work so much fun for me was the details  about the ghosts and their interaction with the living. 

This is really a delightful story, among her briefer works.

Mel u

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

I was *so* surprised to find ghosts in this story! (It happens straight away, so it was not a surprise that snuck up on me.) And, then, they were fully developed characters in so many ways - typical Gallant. Thanks for reading along - so nice to have company on this project.