The Cost of Living: Early and Uncollected Stories

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New York Review of Books, 2009 - Fiction - 340 pages
9 Reviews
A New York Review Books Original
Mavis Gallant is renowned as one of the great short-story writers of our day. This new gathering of long-unavailable or previously uncollected work presents stories from 1951 to 1971 and shows Gallant's progression from precocious virtuosity, to accomplished artistry, to the expansive innovatory spirit that marks her finest work.

"Madeleine's Birthday," the first of Gallant's many stories to be published in The New Yorker, pairs off a disaffected teenager, abandoned by her social-climbing mother, with a complacent middle-aged suburban housewife, in a subtly poignant comedy of miscommunication that reveals both characters to be equally adrift. "The Cost of Living," the extraordinary title story, is about a company of strangers, shipwrecked over a chilly winter in a Parisian hotel and bound to one another by animosity as much as by unexpected love.

Set in Paris, New York, the Riviera, and Montreal and full of scrupulously observed characters ranging from freebooters and malingerers to runaway children and fashion models, Gallant's stories are at once satirical and lyrical, passionate and skeptical, perfectly calibrated and in constant motion, brilliantly capturing the fatal untidiness of life.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LynleyS - LibraryThing

Not going to lie — this collection was hard work. After reading Twilight, I suppose I deserved a mental workout. I had to really think before understanding what each story was really about. This ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sheltiemama - LibraryThing

I had never heard of Mavis Gallant before receiving a copy of this book, and I'm so glad I got a copy. Gallant's short stories are about people after World War II, mostly in Europe. She has shown me a ... Read full review

Contents

II
7
III
20
IV
34
V
49
VI
69
VII
97
VIII
115
IX
129
XIII
202
XIV
238
XV
245
XVI
250
XVII
264
XVIII
269
XIX
287
XX
295

X
156
XI
185
XII
195
XXI
300
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About the author (2009)

Mavis Gallant was born in Montreal and worked as a journalist at the Montreal Standard before moving to Europe to devote herself to writing fiction. After traveling extensively she settled in Paris, where she still resides. She is the recipient of the 2002 Rea Award for the Short Story and the 2004 PEN/Nabokov Award for lifetime achievement. New York Review Books Classics has published two previous collections of Gallant's stories, Paris Stories, selected and introduced by Michael Ondaatje (2002), and Varieties of Exile, selected and introduced by Russell Banks (2003).

Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of the short-story collections Unaccustomed Earth and Interpreter of Maladies, and of a novel, The Namesake. Her interview with Mavis Gallant appeared in the summer 2009 issue of Granta.

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