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Paley’s Planet

Robert Walshe, 17 April 1986

Three of a Kind 
by Rachel Ingalls.
Faber, 141 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 571 13606 0
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Home Truths 
by Mavis Gallant.
Cape, 330 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 224 02344 6
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Later the Same Day 
by Grace Paley.
Virago, 211 pp., £8.95, November 1985, 0 86068 701 5
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... with three polished collections of stories is in much the same fix. I am speaking here of Mavis Gallant, Rachel Ingalls and Grace Paley, all ladies in a world where some of us try hard to be lads,1 and short stories written by ladies are little different from shoes: they need breaking in. During the course of the past two months, I hobbled ...

Asking too much

Stephen Wall, 22 February 1990

Lust, and Other Stories 
by Susan Minot.
Heinemann, 147 pp., £12.95, February 1990, 9780434467570
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In Transit 
by Mavis Gallant.
Faber, 229 pp., £12.99, February 1990, 0 571 14212 5
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The Perfect Place 
by Sheila Kohler.
Cape, 148 pp., £11.95, February 1990, 0 224 02748 4
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Howling at the moon 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 174 pp., £10.95, February 1990, 0 09 469590 3
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by William Bedford.
Heinemann, 186 pp., £12.95, February 1990, 9780434055593
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... tales has its own telling decorum. Lust, and Other Stories is only Susan Minot’s second book; Mavis Gallant’s In Transit is part of a much more substantial oeuvre, and collects 20 stories which originally came out in the New Yorker in the Fifties and Sixties. There are eight other volumes of stories as well as two novels, and the new sample ...

The Life of Henri Grippes

Jonathan Coe, 18 September 1997

Selected Stories 
by Mavis Gallant.
Bloomsbury, 887 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 7475 3251 6
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... beautifully designed, bound and typeset by its publishers – represents the merest sliver of Mavis Gallant’s lifelong achievement. Even discounting the two novels and the books of essays, what we have here can amount to little more than half the content of her nine published short-story collections. Gallant has ...


Walter Nash, 18 February 1988

The Panda Hunt 
by Richard Burns.
Cape, 189 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 224 02445 0
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Davy Chadwick 
by James Buchan.
Hamish Hamilton, 145 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 0 241 12115 9
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Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris 
by Mavis Gallant.
Cape, 196 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 224 02426 4
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Black Idol 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 157 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 9780224024372
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... of stylishness, but no impression at all of a personal style. That could hardly be said of Mavis Gallant, whose stories of Paris are told in a style deliciously personal, a gallant style to be sure, in which sentences develop with the regulated ornamental zeal of the rococo, in measured ...

Put it away, like a good girl

August Kleinzahler, 16 March 2000

Where I Live Now: Stories 1993-98 
by Lucia Berlin.
Black Sparrow, 240 pp., $25, March 1999, 1 57423 091 3
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... can be almost slovenly in execution, while the next has the controlled grace of a writer like Mavis Gallant: Berlin is several writers, some raw, some cooked. But more often than not the delivery is stripped down and usually in the first person. Details of character and place are so vivid that the stories feel autobiographical, an impression ...


Ian Hacking, 18 December 1986

How institutions think 
by Mary Douglas.
Syracuse, 146 pp., $19.95, July 1986, 0 8156 2369 0
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... colony and the latter was uninfluenceable, and hence there was no feedback effect. Why (as Mavis Gallant observes in a short story, ‘Varieties of Exile’) were there no remittance women? Because they would inevitably marry the vigorous independent stock and hence with their remittance would encourage tendencies towards disloyalty. This ...

Rah, Rah, Cheers, Queers

Terry Castle: On Getting Married, 29 August 2013

... for selling it. Though now deaf, partially blind and reliant (precariously) on a walker, Mavis remains as jolly and defiant as ever – if not exactly full of her usual beans. Droll but unfair to say of her, as Larkin wrote to a friend about his own aging ma: ‘My mother, not content with being motionless, deaf and speechless, is now going ...

Etheric Vibrations

E.S. Turner: Marie Corelli, 29 July 1999

The Mysterious Marie Corelli: Queen of Victorian Bestsellers 
by Teresa Ransom.
Sutton, 247 pp., £25, June 1999, 0 7509 1570 6
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... a city was named after her. By the 1920s, her books were right out of fashion, though the names of Mavis and Thelma, popularised by her heroines, lingered on. She has not lacked biographers. The latest to bring her to book, Teresa Ransom, is at pains to probe the mystery about her parentage. First, it is worth revisiting The Sorrows of Satan, which was ...

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