In Plain Sight - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant - first published October 17, 1993 in The New Yorker
Included in The Collected Short Stories of Mavis Gallant and in Paris Stories
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
Since March 2017 I have been reading through the short stories of Mavis Gallant, following the lead of Buried in Print. I have access to about half the stories. Buried in Print has three stories left to read, sadly “In Plain Sight” is the last of her stories included in The Collected Short Stories of Mavis Gallant. The project will end in September.
The central character in this story, he has appeared before, is Henri Grippes, a novelist living in Paris. As the story opens, an air raid siren has just sounded:
“ON THE FIRST Wednesday of every month, sharp at noon, an air-raid siren wails across Paris, startling pigeons and lending an edge to the midday news. Older Parisians say it has the tone and pitch of a newsreel sound track. They think, Before the war, and remember things in black-and-white. Some wonder how old Hitler would be today and if he really did escape to South America.”
Concerns over memory, over aging, meditations on a “lost world” permeate this story as they do much of her work.
My mind is distracted by the dark times we are in. Buried in Print and Peter Orner have written much more elegantly on this story than I can.
Reading through these stories with Buried in Print has been a great Reading life experience. It takes real optimism to begin long term Reading Projects. It means for me I am not giving up.
I look Forward to joining in on Buried in Print’s next project