Saturday, March 06, 2004

From Hermione Lee's review of The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant (in The Guardian):
In "A Flying Start", one of Gallant's American ladies in Paris holds court in a sombre dining room overshadowed by a tree "grown from a sapling presented by Edith Wharton". In her youth she "had been allowed to peer round the door and watch her renowned compatriot eating sole meunière. She had not been presented to Mrs Wharton, who was divorced." This little tribute is apt as well as funny: Gallant has something of Wharton's fine, cool eye for social shifts and conflicts. And like Wharton she is a refugee from a culture she couldn't wait to get away from, but often returns to in her work.

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