What is to be done?

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Quadrant Editions, 1983 - Drama - 110 pages
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About the author (1983)

Born in Montreal on August 11, 1922 Mavis Gallant grew up in Canada and the United States.She received her education in seventeen different public, comvent and French boarding schools. In her twenties she worked as a reporter for the Montreal Standard. In 1950 she settled in France, but she still retains ties to Canada. Although bilingual from childhood and thoroughly involved in French culture, Gallant writes fiction only in English. Her first stories appeared in, The New Yorker, where she continues to publish. She has written two novels, Green Water, Green Sky (1959) and A Fairly Good Time (1970), both of them character studies about alienation. The short story and novella, however, are the vehicles that best display her talent. Her short fiction has been collected over the years since 1956 in a number of volumes. Overhead in a Balloon (1985) contains stories about France, Home Truths (1981) stories about Canada, and The Pegnitz Junction (1973) stories about German fascism. In 1981 Mavis Gallant was honored by her native country and made Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to literature that year. She received Governor General's Award for literature for her collection of stories, Home Truths. In 1989 she was made a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2000 she won the Matt Cohen Prize and in 2002 she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. Urbane in tone, elegantly chiseled in style, Gallant's stories focus primarily on character. Whether Canadians or French, at home or abroad, or world wanderers of all nationalities, the people she writes about suffer from alienation in an uncaring society, exile within their own experience. Gallant's finely tuned dialogue reflects the inability to overcome the loss these characters face, for they find it impossible to express fully or directly what they feel so strongly. Yet, in spite of separation from their physical and spiritual homeland as well as from other humans in the same predicament, the characters manage to survive.

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