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, August 30, 2020

In Plain Sight - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant - first published October 17, 1993 in The New Yorker

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

Buried in Print’s Mavis Gallant Project

Gateway to Mavis Gallant on The Reading Life

Peter Orner pays tribute to of one of the past century's great character builders, including his thoughts on In Plain Sight

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

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

Mel u


1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

Never give up, Mel! :) It's been a delight to share the reading of these stories with you. And I'm so glad you reminded me of the Peter Orner article. One of my favourite parts is this: "And something more—I wonder if Gallant's work doesn't also make some readers uncomfortable. In her stories, you become so immersed so quickly that before you know it you are mucking around deeply in someone else's screwed up life." If you haven't had the pleasure of Peter Orner's collection of bookish essays, "Am I Alone Here? Notes of Living to Read and Reading to Live", I highly recommend it. But I also warn will add to your TBR plans in a major way! But, as you're not giving up anytime soon, you'll be needing a long list of books yet to read!