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

Saturday, February 15, 2020

April Fish - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant - 1968

April Fish - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant - 1968

Buried in Print's Mavis Gallant Reading Schedule 

Mavis Gallant on The Reading Life

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

"In her preface to the present collection, Gallant advises her readers: “Stories are not chapters of novels. They should not be read one after another, as if they were meant to follow along. Read one. Shut the book. Read something else. Come back later. Stories can wait.” Such advice may be superfluous. When you finish each of Gallant’s stories, it’s instinctive to stop and regroup. As much as you might wish to resume and prolong the pleasure of reading, you feel that your brain and heart cannot, at least for the moment, process or absorb one word, one detail more." Francine Prose in her introduction to The Collected Short Stories of Mavis Gallant

This story is included in The Collected Short Stories of Mavis Gallant and in another collection, In Transit.

April Fish has an estimated reading time of three minutes, far briefer than is typical of her work.  

The story is narrated by April, a fifty five year old single woman living in Switzerland.  She says she only there to avoid high income tax in her home country, to which she wishes she could return. We do not learn where she is from.  We do learn she is affluent, seems to live of Family money as her affairs are managed by a solicitor.  In Switzerland they call her Avril.

She has three adopted sons, now all young adults but still dependent on her.  

There is a mystery of character at the center of this story.  Is April a kind caring person or is she an adult spoiled brat who has a fit when she is denied her way, or a bit of both? She seems now bored with her sons and is outraged when her request to adopt a Vietnamese Baby in Switzerland for burn treatments  (1968 was height of The Vietnam War) is denied.

The reason the story is called April Fish in related to Venice.  Where i hope to be this summer.

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

I know I've already commented on this, so I'll just say, here, that I really enjoy having company reading through her stories and knowing that you're trying to puzzle out the nature of her character (the dogs, the kids, the foiled adoption etc.) too.