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

Friday, October 25, 2019

By the Sea - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant - 1954

My posts on Mavis Gallant

"By the Sea" by Mavis Gallant

“In terms of character, no man is the slightest match for a horse,” 

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

Today's story is set in a pension near Gilbralter, owned by an English woman.  The story very much reminded me of Katherine Mansfield's 1911 collection, In a German Pension.  The guests are a mixture of English, American and German.  The English sort of occupy one area, the French another. The story is structured through the conversations of the guests.  People are not quite what they seem.  No one seems particularly happy.  One woman says the main reason she does not go back to England is the six month dog quarantine rule.  Everyone seems to vaguely wish they were somewhere else but inertia keeps them from acting on their wishes.

This story is included in the collection, In Transit and in The Collected Short Stories of Mavis Gallant. (I could not find it online.)

Buried in Print, a great source of reading life ideas, is doing a read through of all the 200 or so stories of Gallant.  I have access to about half the stories and am trying to follow along as I can. The read through is scheduled to finish in September 2020.  All are invited to participate.

Mel u


Suko said...

It sounds as if I should read some of her work. Excellent post, Mel!

Buried In Print said...

Like you, I wrote a shorter post on this story. It simultaneously feels like a LOT happens and nothing happens in this one. More of a feeling, in the end, really, for me. And, yet, some quintessential Gallant-isms, that I know you'll have noticed as well. (I thought the dog tidbit was interesting too.) Thanks for reading along, Mel. It's lovely to have your company.