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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

From the Fifteenth District

Penguin Modern Classics Edition

by (author) Mavis Gallant

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Aug 2018
Short Stories (single author), Literary, 20th Century
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2018
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2001
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Set in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, the nine stories in this glittering collection reflect on the foibles and dilemmas of human relationships.

An English family goes to the south of France for the sake of the father’s health, and to get away from an England of rationing and poverty. A displaced person turned French soldier in Algeria now makes a living as an actor in Paris. A group of selfish English expatriates on the Italian Riviera are incredulous that Mussolini and the Germans may affect their lives. A great writer’s quiet widow blossoms in widowhood, to the surprise and alarm of her children, who send a ten-year-old grandson to Switzerland to keep her company one Christmas. Full of wry humour and penetrating insights, this is Mavis Gallant at her most unforgettable.

About the author

 Mavis Gallant (1922–2014) once told an interviewer that she could no more stop being Canadian than she could change the colour of her eyes. Born in Montreal, she left a career as a leading journalist in that city to move to Paris in 1950 to write.

She published stories on a regular basis in The New Yorker, many of which were anthologized. Her worldwide reputation was established by books such as From The Fifteenth District and Home Truths, which won the Governor General’s Award in 1982. In that same year she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, becoming a Companion of the Order in 1993, the year she published Across the Bridge and was the recipient of a special tribute at the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors in Toronto. She received several honorary degrees from Canadian universities and remained a much sought-after public speaker.

Mavis Gallant's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Eight short stories and a novella, set in Europe from the 1930s to the early [1970s], in which Gallant again performs explorative microsurgery on the dense circuitry of delusion, sad obtuseness, or simple piggishness that drains away love, charity, and the fullness of life. . . . A difficult but fine-tuned and elegant collection." —Kirkus Reviews

"Set in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, the stories in this collection are incisive, nuanced portraits of émigrés and displaced people whose lives are in a state of turmoil and flux. Mavis Gallant's elegant, witty prose brings these characters and their complex situations fully to life." —CBC Books

"Superb. . . . From the Fifteenth District brings us Mavis Gallant at the height of her powers." —Toronto Star

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