From the Fifteenth District

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Overview

Set in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, the nine stories in this glittering collection reflect on the foibles and dilemmas of human relationships. An English family goes to the south of France for the sake of the father’s health, and to get away from an England of rationing and poverty. A displaced person turned French soldier in Algeria now makes a living as an actor in Paris. A group of selfish English expatriates on the Italian Riviera are incredulous that Mussolini and the Germans may affect ...
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2001 Trade Paperback Fine+ with no dust jacket 0771032935. In Fine condition, clean, bright, condition. "From the Fifteenth District is among the most accomplished of Gallant's ... collections of short fiction, and it contains many of her best-known stories, including "Baum, Gabriel, 1935-( ), " one of the most original accounts of postwar European Jewry ever written, and "The Moslem Wife, " a powerful tale of an anemic marriage in a community of British expatriates in northern Italy as the Second World War sweeps in."; 8vo 8"-9" tall; 313 pages. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Set in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, the nine stories in this glittering collection reflect on the foibles and dilemmas of human relationships. An English family goes to the south of France for the sake of the father’s health, and to get away from an England of rationing and poverty. A displaced person turned French soldier in Algeria now makes a living as an actor in Paris. A group of selfish English expatriates on the Italian Riviera are incredulous that Mussolini and the Germans may affect their lives. A great writer’s quiet widow blossoms in widowhood, to the surprise and alarm of her children, who send a ten-year-old grandson to Switzerland to keep her company one Christmas. Full of wry humour and penetrating insights, this is Mavis Gallant at her most unforgettable.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Mavis Gallant writes some of the most superbly crafted and perceptive stories of our time.”
Globe and Mail

“Gallant’s fiction is so finely observed and so forbearing in the face of the shortcomings we ascribe to human nature that the reader might easily come away with the impression that these stories are narrated by God.”
Mirabella

“Superb…From the Fifteenth District brings us Mavis Gallant at the height of her powers.”
Toronto Star

“I’m certain that there isn’t a finer living writer of fiction in the English language.
There couldn’t be.”
Books in Canada

“One of Canada’s best short-story writers.”
New Brunswick Reader

“Gallant achieves the extraordinarily difficult task of capturing a world and a way of thinking in these little masterpieces.…She is something of a magician: one can watch closely, but in the end her stories defy our rational senses, and the result is a type of literary magic.”
Edmonton Journal

“When so many others are forgotten, Gallant will be there.”
Globe and Mail

“Reading any one of Mavis Gallant’s stories is like viewing the entire universe through an electron microscope; in her hands fiction seems infinitely flexible and capacious. And all the complexity of insight, the breadth of understanding, the density of thought and intensity of feeling are delivered with thrilling charm, a thrilling lightness of touch.”
–Deborah Eisenberg

“One of the best that ever came out of this country.”
–Morley Callaghan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780771032936
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
  • Publication date: 11/13/2001
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Montreal in 1922, Mavis Gallant left a career as a leading journalist in that city to move to Paris in 1950 to write.

Since that time she has been publishing stories on a regular basis in The New Yorker, many of which have been anthologized. Her world-wide reputation has been established by books such as From the Fifteenth District and Home Truths, which won the Governor General’s Award in 1982. In that same year she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, becoming a Companion of the Order in 1993, the year that she published Across the Bridge and was the recipient of a special tribute at the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors in Toronto. In 1996, The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant was published to universal acclaim. Paris Stories, a selection edited by Michael Ondaatje, appeared in 2002, and was followed by the companion volume Montreal Stories, edited by Russell Banks, in 2004.

Gallant is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has received several honorary degrees from Canadian universities and remains a much-sought-after public speaker. In 2001 she became the first winner of the Matt Cohen Award, and in 2002 she won the Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix and the Rea Award for the Short Story.

She continues to live in Paris.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 14, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    An unforgettable collection of literary short stories. Gallant¿s

    An unforgettable collection of literary short stories. Gallant’s prose is striking in its simplicity and precise style. Complexities of displacement, and alienation with questionable conclusions unveiled. Character interconnections streamlined with absolute perfection.
    Nine stories taking place in Europe post Second World War exploring the frailty and plight of relationships. In one story an English family exits to the south of France to escape England’s rationing and debt under the guise of their father’s poor health. An actor, once a French soldier in Algeria, is gainfully employed in Paris. A self absorbed English family living on the Italian Riviera unconvinced Mussolini and the Germans may impact their lives greatly.
    A provoking collection of short stories examining human relationships with keen observation and depth, fatalistic and compassionate.

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  • Posted January 12, 2015

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    A collection of short stories set in Europe after the end of Wor

    A collection of short stories set in Europe after the end of World War II, these nine stories all deserve to be savored and read with time after to ponder and absorb the nuances. Mavis Gallant has a deft hand with construction of a short story, a skill that is apparent and highlighted with her clever use of description and emotive prose that brings forth the characters in ways that highlight the deprivations, relief and struggle each endured after the war. 
    Every word in a short story must count for something, often doing double duty to enlighten and instill a sense of the place or the person for the reader. What emerges is the humanity and the several ways in which we are all not so different, despite circumstances or actions.  These are not the famous or lauded of the war years: each story is a ‘normal’ person, insignificant in the grand scheme but star of their own particular stories. These are stories of survival and perseverance against odds, some circumstantial, others self-imposed, and each brings plenty of fuel for imagination and empathy. 
    These are some masterfully crafted stories, bound to please fans of the genre, and a wonderful example for those new to short stories of how they should be written. Gallant has a tone that is varies between flippant or nonchalant, as if the characters are reacting to their situations, or the narration is simply an uninvolved being retelling what they see without great attachment. Yes, many are somber, and all seem to have a common them of not letting go, but the overall impression leaves you wanting more writing in this manner, even as each story stands alone perfectly well. 
    I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

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  • Posted January 11, 2015

    This is a series of short stories, some in France or Italy or Ge

    This is a series of short stories, some in France or Italy or Germany, all those western European countries that we Americans love to visit, soaking up the culture. But Gallant goes far beyond the surface of these countries and people who we so admire.
    The short stories are set around World War II, some of them occurring before, some after or during. The stories aren't about the war though, but often the characters are affect by the war.
    Each story is like peeking into someone's window and seeing the real them, the one they might hide from the rest of the world.
    The black and white cover is foreshadowing of the stories to come as they definitely have a melancholy feel throughout. The richness of Gallant's words only deepen the effect.
    Here's an excerpt from "The Four Seasons" where a young Italian girl travels to a seaside village to serve as a  nanny to an English family of outsiders:
    "'Mussolini is trying to get away from those oversized families,' said Mrs. Unwin with confidence.. She sat on a high stool, arranging flowers in a copper bowl. She quashed her cigarette suddenly and drank out of a teacup. She seemed to Carmela unnaturally tall. Her hands were stained, freckled, old, but she was the mother of Tessa and Clare, who were under three and still called "the babies." The white roses she was stabbing onto something cruel and spiked had been brought to the kitchen door by the chauffeur from Castel Vittorio. This time he had given Carmela a diffident nod."
    Gallant delves into each character, revealing things that we might prefer  not to know, wanting to engage only with the surface beauty but realizing the complexity of each person, no matter their nationality or position during the war.  We meet a German prison of war home long after the war had ended because no one thought to send him home from France He finds his mother remarried and very changed. We meet a Jewish man who blessedly escaped Europe before the war and returns in search of an heir for the business he has built in Argentina, but it has to be the right kind of heir. The boy, now a man, is repelled by the uncle who escaped the atrocities.
    This is a book filled with stories of deep emotion that dig beneath the surface Europe we love.

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  • Posted January 9, 2015

    I have to say this is the first time I heard of or read Mavis Ga

    I have to say this is the first time I heard of or read Mavis Gallant which is a little disappointing because she really is an amazing writer. There are several reasons that I don't naturally gravitate towards short stories. One it’s hard to become invested in a short story because all the elements have to be in play. An author has to successfully develop the plot and the characters and balance the perfect amount of action and details. Gallant really did all this. Her stories grabbed me from the beginning and I felt instantly connected to the characters and interested in how the stories would evolve.

    Other aspects that interested me about Gallant are that her stories tend to revolve around World War II in one way or another but each story was an individual experience. None of the stories felt duplicated, all were authentic. This collection of short stories was a piece of literature. I highly recommend these stories for anyone that wants gratifying reads with a very literary feel!

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  • Posted December 16, 2014

    Mavis Gallant is a writer whom I have overlooked and it is to my

    Mavis Gallant is a writer whom I have overlooked and it is to my shame because I discovered her with this newest publication of her short stories and novellas.These stories are truly wonderul. now that I have discovered her I will check out her earlier.
    I happen to be interested in settings for stories and many of these are set in an appealing Europe even if it was during the war. I recommend this  book to those who like short stories and fine writing. Your won't be disappointed.

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