Paris Stories - Mavis Gallant, Michael Ondaatje


                I almost didn’t buy this book.

                But I’m glad I did.

                I don’t think I have read Gallant before picking up this book, unless it was in college during the Canadian Literature course I took.  But wow.


          Paris Stories is somewhat of a misnomer as half the stories don’t take place in Paris.  The overarching theme of these stories seems to be that what people see and what actually is – in terms of relationships, reality, or anything else.  They are about creative beings.


              Many of the stories are just so stunningly beautiful and can turn so suddenly. 


               In terms of style, Gallant seems to be the love child of Austen and Twain (if Twain had actually liked Austen).


                The stories focus on families, for the most part.  A couple with children, a grandmother, a honeymoon couple, a woman and her tenet who is more than a tenet.


              It’s a good thing that the stories are so good that I have trouble deciding which one of them is my favorite.  There is “Mlle Dias De Corta”, a story told in letter form.  The narrator is one of those catty and endearing women.  Then there is “The Moselm Wife” which really isn’t about a Moselm wife.  It has the sentence, “He read steadily but cautiously now, as if every author had a design on him” (102).


             The stories are like Chinese boxes and Russian dolls.  Hidden parts, rich food, and great wine.


             Perhaps it is “From the Fifteenth District” a story about haunting but not in the way you think.  It is somewhat “Irina” about grandmother who is not what she appears to be.

                This review is crap because I cannot write about how truly wonderful this collection is.