Two days ago I read my very first short story by Mavis Gallant (Canada, 1922), "Rue de Lille". Yesterday I downloaded a sample of Early and Uncollected Stories of Mavis Gallant edited and introduced by Jhumpa Lahari. Lahari's introduction was totally illuminating and her deep appreciation of the stories of Ms. Gallant shines through. Gallant has published about 100 stories in The New Yorker. "Madeline's Birthday", September 1, 1951 was the very first published story of Gallant. It is kindly included in the sample edition. Lahari tells us it that it contains the basic elements that would emerge in Gallant's work over the next five decades. It is the story of the events on Madeline's seventeenth birthday. I am not inclined here to tell the plot. It is about half-functioning families, loneliness under comfortable conditions, people on their own before they are ready.
I have access to two more of her stories and will read them soon. I can see myself reading a lot of her work.
Please share your experience with Mavis Gallant with us.