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    Clear, fluid, quiet, intelligent

    Somehow I missed reading Mavis Gallant when I was young, mised even knowing of her, despite her being published in the New Yorker. A pity, for her writing is remarkable. The characters are so carefully observed, the details so nuanced and developed that they rival your own memories. I felt at times as though I were reminiscing about people I'd met on a trip long ago, rooms I'd sat in, streets I'd walked. Conversations meander, people gliding past half-recognized truths, distracting themselves from their own uncertainties. It feels amazingly real, and the writing is clear and fresh and not the least bit showy or obtrusive. The stories are, in the main, character studies. Though large events sometimes form the backdrop, the focus is on one or two characters and how they interpret themselves, their lives, and each other. Crisis is background and subtext, not the foreground, the narrative sometimes slowly leading up to and then skipping right past a war, an abandonment, a death. Action and high drama in and of itself doesn't interest Ms. Gallant. Anyway, if you like nuanced, well-written, chatacter-focussed short stories I highly recommend it.

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