Saturday, September 29, 2012

Forced Finish: "In Transit" by Mavis Gallant

Forced Finish: In Transit by Mavis Gallant, 1988, 039457575x.

I think I requested this after reading a review of Gallant's work online.  Maybe by that Montreal guy who posts on Friday's forgotten books.  I read the first story and disliked it.  I liked the second story and decided to keep with it.  Nothing very good followed that second story.  I forced myself to finish rather than quit.

Gallant's brief bio on the flyleaf says she left Canada in1950 and moved around Europe before settling in France.  The stories are set around Europe with some French ones.  Many tales with characters from different nationalities interacting.  Different cultural views and behaviors cause conflict or misunderstanding.

Several family stories with unhappy people.  People with little optimism or faith in others. Disaffection.  Stuck in relationships. Unable to follow relationships.

1.  What the fuck?  How did he catch that fumble in stride and make a first down? (Watching WI vs. NE).
2.  Magill's Survey of World Literature: revised edition, 2009 has a piece about Gallant.  She went to 17 different schools as a kid.  Her father died when she was a kid, her mother left her with foster parents, she was taken in as a teen to a psychiatrist couple.  All these things are reflected in the stories.  Especially one piece where a woman remembers back to childhood summer at a cabin where her mother dramatically announced her leaving to be with the boyfriend who had been staying with them earlier.
3. I do not have the interest in reading the full Magill's piece but Gallant became a big deal in the '80s.  At least in Canada.  She also, and I did notice this, set her stories from post-WWII to the '70s.

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